In an effort to offer their clients more “on-the-job” opportunities, the Fort Frances District Association for Community Living has taken on a retail venture.
“The Treasure Chest,” which opened its doors at 220 Scott St. on Monday, is a consignment outlet which offers quality used items (i.e. clothing, furniture and household appliances) on consignment or donated from the public.
This latest endeavor by the ACL, an organization which focuses on assisting physically and mentally handicapped individuals with independent life skills, is primarily directed at giving clients the regular responsibility of a workplace, explained Florence Buffington, and store supervisor and ACL job coach.
“This will give the people we service in our community meaningful employment in a regular work environment and the opportunity for us to assess their job skills and their interaction with customers,” she said Monday.
“We teach proper work skills and [the store] will be excellent for that,” agreed Bev Kotnik, manager of employment and alternative services for the association.
“Clients will be pricing, cleaning, dusting, and dealing with customers,” she added, noting up to six clients may alternate working there.
Kotnik spearheaded the idea for the store but admitted the fact that it’s up and running could be credited to the association’s 10-member board.
“I can’t stress enough the importance of the board being so supportive of this initiative,” she said.
Board president Donna McKelvie said the time was right to get this type of work program on its feet.
“We were 100 percent behind [Kotnik] and the clients in this venture. We’re quite happy to see the dedication the staff has in helping our clients become part of the community,” she enthused.
Once monthly commission rates are paid out, revenue generated will be used for training wages, rent, and operating expenses.