The B.C. government has recognized September as Disability Employment Month. Learn about how Community Living BC is working with individuals, families, employers, community groups and government partners to increase employment for people with developmental disabilities through the Community Action Employment Plan here. You can also visit www.AccessibleEmployers.ca to find resources for creating inclusive workplaces and click here learn how to get involved in Disability Employment Month 2018.
You would be hard pressed to find a more welcoming business than the Painted Chair in Oliver, B.C. Warm greetings and the smell of fresh-baked cinnamon buns greet you at the door. There is an inviting feeling of family and community right from the start.
The Painted Chair is run by CLBC funded service provider Hovanes Community Services and employs individuals to turn donated furniture into functional and beautiful pieces of art. Each piece is unique and has the artist’s vision shown throughout. Once the piece is complete, it is brought to the sales floor for someone to buy and bring home. All of the profits from the furniture go to the employee that refurbishes the piece.
“Each employee at the Painted Chair gets money in their pocket and learns transferable job skills,” says Tara Hovanes. “They go home with income they’ve made on their own. I am so proud of how far our artists have come. They work hard and you can see how they really love what they do when their completed piece is on the sales floor.”
Nicole has been coming to the Painted Chair for many years and loves participating in all aspects of the program. “I love helping out in the kitchen and doing cash,” says Nicole. “I get to meet and chat with all the people who shop at the store and I’m pretty fast at doing the transactions.”
“We believe that community inclusion should go both ways,” says Ron Hovanes. “People go into the community to participate in various activities and the community comes to us to buy furniture and clothing or to sit down and have coffee and cake. That is what inclusion is all about and I am lucky to be a part of it.”
“The art work and artistic design in the furniture is terrific,” says CLBC’s CEO Seonag Macrae who recently paid a visit to the Painted Chair. “Everyone is happy to be there and works hard to make the best product they can. For those who don’t want to focus on a large piece by themselves, they have group projects and all participants get a share of the revenue. It’s a fantastic place to be.”
The Painted Chair isn’t just a store, it’s a family. Everyone who visits becomes part of that family.
The Painted Chair is located at 5857 Sawmill Road in Oliver.