To support individuals with disabilities
CEDARBURG — A new business with a goal of supporting individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities has opened up in downtown Cedarburg.
Cedarburg Mercantile is owned by Mike and Cindi Purnell and Sam Bear and all the profits made from the store will be used to fund their non-profit organization, Bloom IDD. The goal of Bloom IDD is to help individuals with disabilities thrive in their adult lives whether in their employment or community. The organization will also help educate parents with children with disabilities about the resources that are available to them.
“It’s a learning curve for all parents,” Mike Purnell said. “We’re still learning after all these years. I think it’s important that if the parents are better educated, they’ll be able to help their individual in a better way to get them on a road to independence.”
Matt and Cindi Purnell’s 22-year-old daughter, Dakota, graduated from Bethesda College of Applied Learning in May 2019 and is living in Cedarburg. Bethesda College is a two-year, post-secondary program for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities and it is a partnership between Bethesda Lutheran Communities and Concordia University Wisconsin. Students are prepared for independent adult living and employment while given the college experience as they live on CUW’s campus. Bear used to be one of Dakota’s teachers.
This is a first-time experience for the Purnells and Bear in the retail business.
“This is all new and it’s pretty cool,” Cindi Purnell said.
Cedarburg Mercantile will be selling a variety of merchandise including jewelry, personal hygiene products, clothing, bakery items, juices, pet items, art pieces and more. Some of the handmade items were created by individuals with disabilities.
Cedarburg Mercantile will also be used as a hub for Bloom IDD.
“Bloom is going to be a community resource hub for people with IDD (intellectual and developmental disabilities) and their families,” said Bear, who is also executive director of Bloom IDD.
She added, “We want a place that individuals when they do have an hour or two in their day that are free, rather than sitting at home being by themselves, they’re able to go somewhere with their friends.”
Bloom IDD will be holding seminars, workshops and other activities at Cedarburg Mercantile after hours. One of Bear’s goals is to include travel in the activities that Bloom IDD provides.
“Travel for people with disabilities is very difficult without parents or guardians and so I would love for individuals with disabilities to travel with Bloom either on excursions to, for example, like Chicago or somewhere like Minnesota or maybe even internationally,” Bear said. “That would be the best goal ever so that they can do things independently just as their same-age peers do as well.”
Bloom IDD wants to help individuals with disabilities “bloom” wherever they choose to plant themselves. The organization’s flower is the hydrangea because of how resilient they are.
“Hydrangeas are very unique in that whatever soil they’re planted in, whatever amount of water or light, they change and morph to survive,” Bear said.
Cedarburg Mercantile, W61 N510 Washington Ave., is open Thursday through Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Cedarburg Mercantile will be seeking part-time employees (both individuals with disabilities and individuals without disabilities) at the beginning of next year.
For those that are interested in using the space or any general inquiries can be sent to Bear at email@example.com.
For vendors who are interested in selling items in the store can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information and updates, follow the store on Facebook at Cedarburg Mercantile & Bloom IDD.