ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- What began as a school project in a small kitchen in the early 80s has grown into a multi-million dollar venture that's still growing.
Dignitaries were invited to "smash-a-wall" with a sledgehammer this morning to mark the start of construction on the brand new Special Touch Bakery.
Holy Childhood has operated the bakery from its Henrietta location for years as a way to create jobs for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Their pies appear on menus of dozens of local restaurants. The new facility is located on Mount Read Boulevard near Ridgeway.
New York State now mandates that traditional “sheltered workshops” for people with disabilities must end by the year 2020 and that means a change of location..
Holy Childhood is turning this change into an opportunity.
"We wanted to create a model to be replicated as we got out ahead of regulatory changes which will now dictate how critical services support people with intellectual developmental disabilities in our community," said Donna Deedee, Holy Child president. "So, we will move from 700 square in the school kitchen at the Holy Childhood campus to 20,000 square feet right here."
Support for the $2.6 million expansion project comes from the State Economic Development Council and the Golisano Foundation.
It's expected to create 25 new positions by this summer's completion and up to 40 within five years.