Hungry? Come grab a snack at Ann Storck Center! Staff and visitors of Ann Storck Center’s (ASC) Adult Day Training (ADT) program have the benefit of an in-house store stocked with snacks and drinks. And while it’s a nice perk to have affordable snacks within reach for those on campus, the real benefit is to ADT participants who have the opportunity to run the store, work on vocational skills and receive a paycheck. Like all things in ADT, the store is an endeavor that belongs solely to the individuals attending ADT.
From Hotdog Stand to Micro-Enterprise
About 15 years ago, ADT participants Lennie and Bennie Merchant expressed interest in starting a restaurant. With the help of ADT staff, these brothers began selling hot dogs, soda, and chips to ASC employees who pre-ordered. It didn’t take long for other ADT participants to ask how they could be involved, and the hotdog stand evolved into the “Micro-Enterprise Store.”
The Micro-Enterprise Store is now run by eight participants of ADT. Between 9 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. a store employee (ADT participant) is welcoming customers, manning the register and pricing items to be replenished on the shelves. Psalms Dailey, ASC’s curriculum manager since 1985, acts as a facilitator for the management of the store. She holds an Ownership Meeting where participants decide what products to sell, if prices should change, and they even vote in new store employees.
Manning the Store and Learning New Skills
A customer visiting the store is always greeted by the employee manning the register. All employees have different abilities, but they all greet customers in their own way. Some can welcome you with their own voice while others use a button that says a greeting. After a customer selects items to purchase, it’s time to check out.
All ADT individuals work towards goals or “objectives” that are set collaboratively by the individual, ADT staff, and a parent or guardian. Employees of the store all have objectives related to their tasks in the store, like counting change or pricing inventory.
Every time the store receives a customer, it’s an opportunity for an employee to work on their objectives and learn new skills. Christina Sprouse is an ESE teacher with the Broward County School Board who’s been assigned to ASC’s ADT program. She works one-on-one with the employees to help them meet their objectives and assist customers.
As customers are ready to purchase items, Christine assists employees in working the register. She gently guides their hands around the buttons and encourages them to count the change as they receive it. But their job doesn’t end there! Customers always hear, “Thanks, come again!”
The Micro-Enterprise Store in ADT exists and continues to thrive because of the enthusiasm of ADT participants. There’s a clear sense of ownership and pride among store employees, and the ADT staff are simply there to guide it wherever the employees want to take it.
Linda is a long-time employee of the store. She’ll tell you it’s her favorite activity at ADT, something she looks forward to every day. As she explains, she loves making money so she can buy jewelry and gifts for her friends.
Mindy is another enthusiastic store employee. She says she likes practicing her math skills, and she’s even comparing prices between grocery stores to learn what improvements can be made. She proudly says, “I can do inventory the fastest!”
After learning about the store, we hope we’ve made a new customer. Come by for a snack anytime.