Friday, March 29, 2013

Arc Thrift Store Finds New Home, Grand Opening is April 8

Area bargain hunters will have a new destination this spring when The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming's Finders Keepers thrift shop reopens at its new location on the corner of Main and State Streets in Mount Morris.

Finders Keepers' Crystal Smith
packs for the big move.
The Arc will hold a grand reopening at 10:00am Monday, April 8 at Finders Keepers' new store at 47 Main Street, Mount Morris.  Previously located at 86 Main Street, Finders Keepers is part of The Arc's Hilltop Industries business services program, and employs approximately 10 individuals with developmental disabilities in customer service, inventory, and maintenance positions.  

The 3,500 square foot showroom in the former NAPA store features new customer amenities such as off-street parking, better wheelchair access, and an open concept floor plan for clutter-free shopping.  Store workers' independence is also improved by the store's proximity to Hilltop's main hub at 3 State Street, which is now just a short walk away.

"The new location has a lot to offer," says Judy Welch, Hilltop's Coordinator of Vocational Services.  "Its parking area makes it easier to load large items and accept donations.  And we are in the heart of Mount Morris' 'antique row,' alongside other great shops as part of this community's unique, collaborative shopping experience."

Angie Sutton helps prepare the
new Finders Keepers store.
To celebrate the store reopening, all items will be discounted by 10 percent on April 8 only, and the first 20 customers will each receive a $5 gift certificate.  Local officials will join workers and staff for the festivities, and refreshments will be served.

An official ribbon cutting will commence shortly after 10:00am, led by Finders Keepers worker Barney Pedraza, who recently earned a Bronze Medal for Alpine Skiing at the 2013 Special Olympics World Games in South Korea.

Finders Keepers sells gently used furniture, small appliances, clothing, home decorations, holiday items, books, and sporting goods, with new items arriving daily.  All proceeds are used to enhance work programs for people with disabilities in the local area through The Arc, a 501(c)(3) private, not-for-profit agency.  For sales, coupons, and store news, visit

Monday, March 18, 2013

March Proclaimed Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month in Livingston, Wyoming Counties

All eyes were on Ian Coyle Thursday, March 14th at Hilltop Industries' production facility in Mount Morris, as the County Administrator delivered an official proclamation that marks March 2013 as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month in Livingston County. 

It was the first of two such presentations within the two-county service area of The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming, a 501(c)(3) private, not-for-profit agency dedicated to individuals with intellectual and other developmental disabilities.  At its Tuesday, March 12th meeting, the Wyoming County Board of Supervisors accepted a similar proclamation by unanimous vote.

Leadership Livingston
"The Livingston County Board of Supervisors ... urges the citizens of Livingston County to give full support to efforts towards enabling people with developmental disabilities to live full and productive lives of inclusion in our communities," Mr. Coyle said, to a roar of applause throughout Hilltop's shop floor.

Hilltop Industries is the business services branch of The Arc.  The Hilltop program meets the needs of about 350 people with disabilities annually through day habilitation and work programs, including community employment and work centers.  Workers at the Mount Morris facility carry out a variety of jobs, including packaging, assembly, and operation of a full service print shop.

Joining Hilltop participants for the reading of the proclamation were direct-support staff from The Arc and members of the Livingston County Chamber of Commerce's Leadership Livingston program, who toured the workshop as part of their monthly session.

Barney Pedraza
Wyoming County's proclamation, signed by Board of Supervisors Chairman A. D. Berwanger, reads in part, "Every person, regardless of their abilities, has valuable strengths, infinite capacity to learn, and can be productive, contributing members of their communities.  Celebrating the abilities and contributions of people with developmental disabilities can only serve to enrich the communities of Wyoming County."

Bringing the proclamation's words to life was Special Olympian Barney Pedraza, a Warsaw native who works at Finders Keepers, The Arc's thrift store in Mount Morris.  The Board of Supervisors honored Mr. Pedraza with a Certificate of Recognition for earning a Bronze Medal in Alpine Skiing  for Team USA at the recent Special Olympics World Games in South Korea.  Mr. Pedraza's mother, Beverly, was present for her son's recognition.

Also representing The Arc at the Board of Supervisors were Arc Board Members Eric Parker and Marcy VanZandt and Public Relations Director Jeff Thomas,

Communities nationwide recognize March as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month to draw attention to the needs and potential of people with developmental disabilities.  The observance has been recognized nationally since 1987, when then-President Ronald Reagan called for the American people to build understanding and encouragement, and to provide new opportunities for people who have developmental disabilities.
Wyoming County Proclamation
Livingston County Proclamation