BARDSTOWN - This holiday season will be Clarissa Gordon’s last as owner of Roby’s Country Gardens in Bardstown. The store is filled with essentials and snacks, and Christmas trees wait to be bought outside. It will have new management soon, as the owners ride off into their golden years.
Gordon and her husband Dick Roby are retiring after over 30 years in the business. Naturally they thought about selling their prime real estate on Bloomfield Road, but then members of a local non-profit had another idea.
"[They] just said, 'hey, what about donating,'” Gordon recalled.
Enter the Guthrie Opportunity, or “GO” Center, a non-profit in Bardstown that itself has been around since the 70s, and provides a wide range of paying jobs around the area for adults with developmental disabilities.
"This business is our life," Gordon said through welling eyes. "It’s our whole life, so that’s why it makes us feel good."
Gordon said it's touching watching GO's employees working. The center's executive director expanded on the opportunity.
"This population has something to prove, so they have the best work ethic that you’ll find anywhere of anybody," Cindy Hutchins said. "People are happy, they do a good job for them, so we’re really excited about this opportunity at Country Gardens."
Soon, the center's employees will have yet another choice of work at a business that changes with the seasons, adding new skills to their lives and working with a growing list of companies.
"It just warms your heart, really, and now I get emotional, this is when I get emotional, but it’s just a good thing to do," Gordon fought back tears while smiling. "We’ve worked all our lives, we’re ready to retire, and it’s just a good feeling to leave this knowing it’s going to be in good hands and continue the reputation we’ve built for 32 years."
It's a reputation and a gesture that won’t soon be forgotten.