Mi Abilities Opens Store in Milford for Products Made by Staff with Special Needs
Milford, MI- Sounds of cheer filled the air as Liz Hall and Tommy Goike sliced the bright red ribbon down the middle, symbolizing the grand opening of Mi Abilities, Incorporated at the 2019 Huron Valley Chamber of Commerce Open House. With 90 plus in attendance, Mi Abilities first public friendly location welcomed plenty of guests seeking to learn more about the company’s mission.
Mi Abilities, a non-profit organization established in 2016 by Milford resident Bear Hall, seeks to employ special needs adults to teach lifelong job skills and trades. Through any one of the many micro-enterprises at Mi Abilities, these young adults establish a work ethic and appreciation for earned income to become self-sufficient and financially independent.
As a father of two special needs individuals, Liz Hall age 29 and Shelby Hall age 27, Hall was well aware of the employment struggles the cognitively impaired population face after aging out of public schools. He saw a problem and sought a solution. After developing a business plan, tiered in microbusinesses that could encompass various abilities, he decided to roll out Mi Way Gourmet Popcorn first. Soon after came Mi Events Party Rental, Mi Shred Paper Shredding, Mi Sparks Firewood Sales and Deliver, Mi Vinyl Decorating and Mi Expressions Pallet Art and Candles. Next he will add Mi Natural Beauty, an organic skin care since the new location offers the perfect preparation area for the line.
The new location is approximately 750 square foot, that works out to the perfect amount of space for a large production kitchen, an equally large storage room, an official break room for the staff and a store front for shoppers to browse for the perfect purchase or place an order for a specialty item they’d like to have.
“Mi Abilities needed more commercial kitchen space to accommodate our customers. Bringing Mi Abilities to the Village allows us to have a larger kitchen and provides us with a uniquely positioned retail space to sell our products.” Hall states about the organizations new location.
Currently, Mi Abilities has eight special needs paid employees and one shift. The relocation will afford growth in product and employees. By the end of the year, there are plans to grow to two shifts and 20 employees. “Due to the larger facility we now have, we will be able to hire more adults with special needs. That is our goal. Every individual deserves the right to work to support themselves. We are here to make that happen!” Hall shared with determination.
Highland resident Deb Popp made the first ever purchase at the Mi Abilities store at the ribbon cutting. When asked what she likes best about the store she responded whole heartedly, “I like that the entire facility is centrally located, wheelchair accessible and filled with people who care about our adults with special needs.” Popp purchased a custom made candle and hand crafted display sign, both created by the Mi Abilities staff members.
During the open house, staff member Zachary Valenti was passing out brochures and inviting guests to make their way through the facility while staff member Tommy Goike acted as docent by providing explanation of the company. Goike was the very first hired staff member in 2016 and is nothing but smiles when asked about his job.
White Lake resident Sue Vanderwill was treated to a tour by Goike. She had to say this about the facility, “I am so proud to be part of a community that is so inclusive to individuals of all abilities. The turnout for this grand opening is fantastic, with the Huron Valley Chamber of Commerce at the helm ensuring the event is highly promoted to gain attendance. I’m especially proud of Bear Hall who had a vision, established a plan and has stayed the course through many peaks and valleys. I know this is a new chapter for Mi Abilities, so I am excited to see and enjoy the rest of the chapters as they for years to come.” Vanderwill is the mother of 20 year old Emily Vanderwill, a student with special needs that currently attends Huron Valley Schools Adult Transition Program.
Mi Abilities is located at 317 Union Street, Milford, Michigan. The hours are Tuesday thru Saturday 10 am to 7 pm. The store can be reached at 248-685-0050 or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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