After high school, adults with special needs sometimes find themselves without a regular routine or structured programming that may be necessary to remain active and productive.
One of the owners of Bobby’s Liquidation Outlet in Thornhill first recognized the problem when she saw her brother-in-law — the man who the store is named after — struggle to find programming as an adult. She was inspired to help him and others with special needs find appropriate work, suitable to their strengths.
“We’re just trying to bring people in at all levels of ability and embrace the abilities that they have and work with that” says owner Tzivy Starr.
The outlet in Thornhill is a joint venture between 25 Canadian companies that decided to go into the liquidation business when Sears Canada began closing it’s stores across the country.
The store had extra office space at the location and instead of renting it, the owners invited organizations running special needs programs that Bobby is involved with to operate out of the space. One of the programs includes job coaching which can then lead to a job within the outlet – like it did for Zachary Perlmutter who has Tourette syndrome.
“I’ve been struggling to find work for a while, so this is great” says Perlmutter. He says the merchandising work he’s doing helps him with his stamina and ability to work longer hours.
The owners hope more businesses will adopt the idea, but in the meantime, they’re expanding their reach. During March break, they plan to welcome organizations working with high school students with special needs to host life-skills workshops from their premises.