By Francesca Boston
Finding work after leaving high school is hard. It is even harder to find work when you are ‘differently-abled,’ as the owner of Inclusion City Shops, Sandra Figurski, calls her employees.
The Figurskis started the café/car detailing business back in 2019. The business, located in Pleasant Plains, was the retirement plan for the couple.
They realized that after their daughter, Vaska Figurski, left school, she was losing her social skills and had a hard time holding a job. The couple decided to put together their love of cars and baking into a business with a greater purpose.
“We wanted to provide employment and social opportunities for the differently-abled and noticed the lack of cafés in rural areas. Inclusion City Shop allows us to employ young people and provide valuable services to our community,” says Sandra Figurski.
When the shop opened in May of 2019, they served only hot coffee. Within a couple of months, they expanded their menu, and today they offer both hot and iced coffee, muffins, soft drinks and other breakfast foods. When the pandemic hit last March, they realized that they could sell meals, as well. “We live 30 minutes from Springfield. If you get pick-up and bring it home, it is often cold,” Figurski says.
“We realized that we could offer dinner options for local people who may be tired of cooking.” Luckily, one of her nephews is a chef. Ryan Dornon now cooks one option for every night, Tuesday-Thursday. The meals can be preordered by calling the cafe. Every Friday is pizza day, as well, which is a huge hit with the high school kids next door as you can order pizza for lunch or dinner.
The store also offers a car detailing service. They have three young men working alongside Rob Figurski, all of whom are “differently-abled.” Sandra Figurski says that she prefers to use the term
“differently-abled” over disabled or disorder, as they tend to have a negative connotation, and there’s nothing negative about being different. “It may take them a bit longer to be trained in a certain skill, but once they learn it, they can work as well as I can,” she says. Car detailing packages range from $30-$140, depending on the package and size of the vehicle.
Vaska Figurski, who works in the café with her mom, says her favorite part about working at Inclusion City Shops is, “getting to help the customers out and helping my mom make the muffins!” Her favorite muffin is the pineapple praline muffin, which is a special that the café only does so often. But, no worries – Vaska recommends all the muffins to her customers. The store also sells gift cards which can be used in the café and car detailing shop.
Find out more at www.inclusioncityshops.com or search @inclusioncityshops on Facebook. They are located at 412 E. Route 125 in Pleasant Plains.