The newest venture at Sunflower Diversified Services combines two of the non-profit agency’s priorities – employment for people with developmental disabilities and delays, and more opportunities for the community.
Sunflower Diversified Westside Market, 5523 10th, opened at the first of the month with the list of products growing day by day.
A grand opening celebration is set for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, April 23 at the facility, which also is the Sunflower Recycling drop-off site.
Activities will include free tastings of some products, prizes and a live KHOK radio remote. In addition, Andi Dale will introduce her pasture-raised and free-range meat products, while grilling up some samples.
Diane Ramos is the Westside Market manager, and Sunflower clients are working in maintenance, inventory, product stocking, cleaning and sales.
“Sunflower’s clients also will be developing and producing products for sale,” noted Sarah Krom, Sunflower community supports coordinator. “And we are including outdoor space for a farmer’s market for folks who have garden produce for sale.”
The inventory includes a wide variety of products made locally and throughout Kansas. It includes:
* Yoder statuary * Heartland Farms yarns and other items * Handmade soaps * Salsa and spreads canned the old-fashioned way * Frozen beef, pork and chicken * Fresh meat sticks and sausages * Old-fashioned cand y* Gourmet food mixes* Bird feeders Reusable bottles and recycling bins * Specialty pet treats Earth-message T-shirts
“New product lines are being developed every day,” Krom said, noting arts-and-crafts items will be accepted on consignment. “We also will have floor mats and other products that Sunflower clients create.”
Ladeska “Decky” Makings, Sunflower’s chief operating officer, has been working side-by-side with Krom and other colleagues to get this project up and running.
“As with all our business ventures, our primary objective is to provide even more employment options for the people we serve,” Makings said. “Our clients can increase their earning potential and enhance their marketable skills.
“At the same time,” Makings continued, “our neighbors can purchase products made locally and throughout our state. Sales of these unique items support people who need a helping hand; and the domino effect results in more consumer spending, which helps us all.”
Regular hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays.
Sunflower serves infants, toddlers and adults in Barton, Pawnee, Rice, Rush and Stafford counties. It is celebrating its 50 anniversary this year.