Q: Michelle Hamm, tell us about your business – or, actually, since you have more than one – your businesses. What are they, where are they, and what services do they provide?
Our main business is IPS Services, which is a day program and residential service for individuals with developmental disabilities. We have local facilities as well as several others in southern California. As for our micro business, we have two coffee carts, which operate in the lobby of Far Northern Regional Center and in the lobby of the Social Security building. We serve coffee from Sue’s Java Cafe. We also have recently opened Market St. Nursery & Gift Shop, at 2170 Market St., right before Mallory’s Florist. We offer a great selection of picture frames, vases, handmade jewelry, locally made soaps and lotions, all natural soy candles, gardening supplies, and indoor and outdoor plants, all at great prices! All three of our micro businesses are vocational day programs that assist our employees in job-skill building in hopes that they learn, grow and will eventually be able to hold jobs in our community outside of our day program.
Q: Are these businesses open to the public?
These businesses are open to the public. We would love to have the community’s support in this venture. In order for our employees to build the skills they need, we need customers for them to help. Our employees are eager to provide exceptional customer service. Our Market St. Nursery & Gift Shop is open Monday through Friday 9am-5pm, and Saturday from 10am-3pm, and is closed on Sunday.
Q: How many people have you trained, and what kinds of skills have they learned?
We have 17 employees working at our three micro businesses. They work small shifts that alternate throughout the day. There are between two and four employees there at a time. For example, some of our training consists of money management – working the register and the debit/credit machine, cleaning the store, organizing our products, working together as a team, learning customer services skills, and learning about growing and caring for plants. In the short time we’ve been in operation, our employees have already made a tremendous amount of progress in these areas. We are excited to see what types of future employment our employees will be able to attain.
Q: Anything else you’d like us to know?
We would love to have everyone come down to the Market St. Nursery & Gift Shop! We have a great selection of gifts, and who doesn’t want to save a little money? Our employees are excited to help you! Thanks so much! If you have any questions, feel free to give us a call at 530-244-2352.
Michelle Hamm started working at IPS Services in September 2008, while attending Simpson University. She received her BA in psychology in January 2009. “I’ve always had a passion for helping people, and wanted to choose a career where I could make a change in people’s lives and make a difference in our community. The idea for the Market St. Nursery & Gift Shop has been in the making for about four years. The process has taken a lot of time and effort from Far Northern Regional Center, my supervisors, my co-workers, myself, and of course our consumers we serve through our day program. We all have taken a team approach in order to ensure that we can not only make a positive change in the employees we train, but also become a sustainable business in our community.”