BARGERSVILLE — A unique boutique with a big heart prepares for its grand reopening in downtown Bargersville.
The Hope Gallery is a project by the nonprofit, Alex and Ali Foundation, where adults with developmental disabilities have a safe space to work and learn job skills.
For the past few years, team members in the retail space work on arts and crafts to sell and assist customers.
But as the landscape and community of Bargersville transform, the boutique is undergoing some major changes as well to complement the growing town.
The town is booming with new neighborhoods popping up full of young families. New restaurants are coming to the downtown area to join Taxman Brewery, Johnson's BBQ, other businesses and town leaders looking to capitalize on the future of Interstate 69 to the west.
As more commerce comes to Bargersville, the town is looking at ways to attract people to the community rooted in agriculture, so The Hope Gallery is changing to better match that mission.
This weekend, The Hope Gallery will become The Hope Gallery Sweets and Treats, an ice cream and candy shop where team members can learn new skills.
"The team members will learn maybe some new skills than what they did before, cleaning the tables off after every customer leaves, re-supplying the ice cream, doing inventory on all the products," said Manager Natalie Underwood. "And we have a garden out back that they will be taking care of, watering, checking the vegetables to see when they are ready and then they will sell them at the farmers market."
Team member Chelsea Davis has worked at The Hope Gallery for the past five years and took on some leadership roles within the boutique.
As she showed off the gardens and plants she and her fellow team members have worked hard on this Spring, she said she is ready for this new opportunity to work.
"I've learned how to do different job skills, learning how to count money, learning how to run a business," said Davis. "It's going to change the world. We are just trying to show the world that people with disabilities can work and can do stuff in the community."
The Hope Gallery reopens Saturday, May 14. Its new hours will be noon to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
Davis said she wants the community to stop by and enjoy a sweet treat, interact with the team members and support a good cause.
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