TRURO - Colchester Community Workshop's family tree continues to sprout branches – commercially speaking, that is.
"It's just growing," said Kelly Herron-Jacobs, the workshop's administrative financial manager, regarding the addition of a new variety store the non-profit organization recently opened at the bottom of Young Street.
"It's an extension of our training facility here," she said, of CCW's ongoing efforts. "It's a continuation. We're always working for the clients that we serve. So the convenience store is kind of a compliment to all our existing programs that we have (such as the New to You store and the Intercolonial Café)."
The interior of the store is designed to offer an old country store-like charm and to help with that concept visitors will see wooden barrels on the floor containing products, antiques on the shelves and even a supply of axe handles.
"We're calling it a variety store because it is a little bit different and unique inside," Herron-Jacobs said.
Visitors will also be able to purchase all the normal convenience store amenities along with baked goods, tobacco and eventually ice cream. Herron-Jacobs said the store is also working on being able to sell lottery tickets.
A primary purpose for the creation of the store, however, is to offer it as another training opportunity for CCW clients.
"We provide training and skills and inclusion within our community," Herron-Jacobs said. "So the idea with opening the store was to have sustainability, so it is something we can support ourselves on. But we are going to be able to include our clients working there and then they can get real employment (outside of the CCW)."
"It's an extension of our training facility here and we know they can do it," she said, of the CCW clients who will work there.
"So it's good community exposure. We have clients that work there and, yes, they can work in your store too. You know, they are very able, capable people."
The clients have a community employment instructor and must go through a training period, Herron-Jacobs said. So far, six clients have indicated an interested in working at the store and only those who can handle the required responsibilities will remain.
"The expectations are high, kind of like everything else we do," she said. "And if they don't cut the mustard, they won't be in our store either."
The store has hired three other outside employees to manage it on a day-to-day basis and to oversee the clients who work there. Herron-Jacobs said all that is missing is the local support to make the operation a success.
"We think it is something that is needed in the downtown area," she said. "So hopefully it will catch on."