Carrie Rengers

Autism Avenue Flower & Gift Shoppe opens in expanded space

The Autism Avenue Flower & Gift Shoppe is celebrating a grand opening of new and expand space at the Indian Hills shopping center.
The Autism Avenue Flower & Gift Shoppe is celebrating a grand opening of new and expand space at the Indian Hills shopping center. Courtesy photo

The Autism Avenue Flower & Gift Shoppe is opening in a new location Saturday next to Cameo Cakes in the Indian Hills shopping center at 13th and Meridian.

The shop, which is part of a program through the Independent Living Resource Center, has been in 500 square feet near Douglas and Meridian.

“We’ve grown out of that little store,” says Diane Belden, development and marketing director.

“It’s actually just grown so much and expanded so much we needed a bigger space.”

The new store will be in 1,300 square feet.

The business opened this time last year. It’s a traditional flower and gift shop that sells jewelry, purses, T-shirts and items from local artists.

It’s also a place for autistic young adults to learn. She says the center has a program for those adults that involves various steps, such as counseling and helping them learn how to advocate for themselves.

“The last (step) is they’re working in the store itself,” Belden says.

Workers learn about social interaction, inventory and using a cash register.

Cindi Unruh, executive director of the Independent Living Resource Center, says the store is an opportunity to “work with the higher-functioning young adults … to help them with their social skills so that they can get jobs out in the community.”

Sales at the store go to help fund the program.

The grand opening is from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday.

Unruh says, “We just want people to come out and see our new store and support the program and make new friends.”

Carrie Rengers: 316-268-6340, @CarrieRengers

  Comments