If you’re driving down East Main Street in Turlock and see some cute wooden cows, it’s worth slowing down to take a look.
The cows, and a wooden goat, greet visitors outside Stable Grounds, a new boutique and soon-to-be coffee shop just off of downtown Turlock. The shop, which opened in early July, sells handmade jewelry, home decor, knitwear, woodworking and more.
But it’s more than just another cute shop hawking local artisanal wares. All of the items for sale have been hand crafted by participants in Stable Living, a day program for adults with developmental disabilities. Then the proceeds of each sales goes back to the creators themselves, minus material costs.
“We look at their abilities and that’s what we work with,” said Stable Living Program Director Kat Lightsey. “We want to empower them to have safe and successful independent lives.”
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The work on sale is intricate and artful, some is practical and some purely decorative. The range of items goes from large convertible tables/benches to lamps, necklaces, scarves and beyond. And, yes, they even made the wooden farm animals that stand out front.
“We don’t always come out immediately and tell people what we do here,” Lightsey said. “We’ve had people purchase things without knowing and when we tell them they are always amazed.”
Stable Living was founded in 2012 out of Lightsey’s frustration in finding fruitful activities to help her sister, who has developmental disabilities. Later in her life her mother, who has since passed away, had adopted and fostered several children including those with disabilities. When Lightsey couldn’t find a good day program for her sister, she created her own.
The Stable Living facility in Newman houses a wood shop, sewing room, arts and crafts space and a kitchen where the close to two dozen clients of the day program come five days a week. Lightsey has 12 staff members who work with her in the program.
The program is funded through Valley Mountain Regional Center, a nonprofit agency that serves children and adults with developmental disabilities in the Central Valley and foothills. But until now Stable Living only sold its wares at crafts fairs, special events and by custom orders. The Turlock shop in the former home of the old Hands on Educational Supply across from Denair Park is its first venture into the full-time retail world.
The hope is to have a small coffee shop constructed inside the cottage in a side room in the not-too-distant future. The first sign the group created for the store caused some initial confusion, as it featured a coffee cup. People have wandered in already expecting to find fresh brew. For now they only sell coffee beans in the bag.
But once the coffee shop it is up and running it will be another way to teach job and life skills. Stable Grounds Coordinator Amy Torres said everything they do is to help their clients, which is also why the group isn’t a non-profit. They want them to make a profit on their creations.
“For me everything is with a purpose because a purposeful life is a good life,” Torres said. “Everyone needs to know they have value and purpose.”
Elsewhere around the Business Beat:
Things are coming up rosé indeed for Turlock art studio Rembrandt & Rosé.
Part painting class, part wine tasting, the business has truly blossomed since opening last year on South Golden State Boulevard. In July they moved to a new, larger space in Main Street Plaza. Co-owner Gina Blom, who started the studio with her daughter Lauren, said they’ve doubled their size in the new spot.
The new site also features an outdoor patio which can be used for painting sessions. Blom said they’ve been growing thanks to corporate bookings, private parties and their regular class schedules. So put on a smock, grab a glass and check out their new digs.