Small business in Berlin giving opportunity to employees

BERLIN, Conn. (WTNH)– A small business in Berlin is making a big impact on its community.

Good Cause Gifts in Berlin is gearing up for the start of the busy holiday season. Among all the items inside you’ll find something rather unique … the employees.

“It’s giving them a life, you know this is an opportunity to feel valuable. Everyone wants to have a purpose,” said Pam Donaroma.

Pam Donaroma is the Executive Director of “Futures Inc,” the parent company of Good Cause Gifts.

The store hires individuals who have disabilities. Brett Moore is one of the people who got a job there after he suffered a brain injury more than 10 years ago.

“I was driving home from college because I was a commuter, took my eyes off the road and have no memory after that,” said Moore.

Luann Landon has worked here for the last 3 years.

“I started in high school at this work program and I found out about here and I wanted to try it out and see how I liked it and I liked it a lot,” said Landon.

Nearly 20 employees essentially help run the store, along with upper management. From interacting with customers to selecting merchandise, it allows these young men and women to earn a steady paycheck.

“I’d probably still be looking for another job if I didn’t find this place out,” said Landon.

“I’ve tried for jobs elsewhere I went back to my old job as a screen printer in Cheshire but it was just too hard,” said Moore.

The idea for the store came about 5 years ago with the help of a local family.

“Once their children graduated from high school they wanted to have an option that was community based, in the heart of the community but also real work,” said Donaroma.

Since then the store has grown. A second location also opening up at the Hospital for Special Care in New Britain. Community support has been a driving force behind it all, changing the lives of countless people.

“It’s a chance at getting back to a real life, you know just sitting at home and doing nothing. I feel like a regular person again to get out, have a job to go to and do some real work,” said Moore.

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