CHARLOTTE, Mich. — Ashley Curtis is 20 years old and loves to paint. She sells some of her work at Donuts to Dog Treats and more in Charlotte, a farm stand that also sells Michigan-made crafts.
"I've painted a dog which is my dog husky, Nico. I painted some all different varieties of plants. So cactuses, succulents, sunflowers, roses and bird of paradise," said Curtis.
Donuts to Dog Treats and more opened a month ago. Erica Parr is the manager and was inspired to open the store by Curtis, her stepdaughter, who has autism.
"I was telling my business partner, Ayanna Ballard, about Ashley and what she likes to do. And she said, 'Well why don't we open up a store to help these kids out so that they can learn social skills and job skills and have a place where they feel like they fit in,'" Parr said.
Curtis attends the RESA program in Charlotte, which helps special needs young adults transition into adulthood. So far, Curtis and another participant in the program sell their products in the store.
Curtis is looking to sell dog treats in addition to her paintings, but they need a license to sell the treats, which should be there in about a week.
"It's just peanut butter ones for now. And then, we will find a different recipe as well. We'll have a variety of different dog biscuits," Curtis said.
The store has also provided hands-on experience for Curtis, who has helped with planting flowers and cleaning.
"In Ashley's case, she kind of self isolates. So it kind of gives her the chance to come out and meet people and talk to people and learn social skills," Parr said.
"I like to do fun stuff and hang out and make new friends," Curtis said.
Parr said they're hoping they can hire the young adults on the weekends in the future.
The store is located at 634 W Lawrence Ave in Charlotte and is open:
Tuesday from 2 p.m.- 6 p.m.
Thursday from 8 a.m. to noon
Friday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Saturday 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Click here if you're interested in selling items or looking for more information about the volunteer opportunity.
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