Careers Industries, a non-profit organization, runs the store and provides retail training to people who have developmental and cognitive disabilities. The store, which sold gluten-free products, will close its doors on March 2 and the training program will start back up at Piggly Wiggly on March 9.
The move means the program will be able to train participants in numerous departments at the new location, according to a press release.
“Greater Grain has been a critical component of Careers Industries Partners in Integrated Employment program, with 20 participants who have gone through our S.H.a.R.E (Service, Handling and Retail Experience) program,” said Joe Greene, executive director of Careers Industries. “With the guidance of a job coach, participants interested in pursuing retail work have learned how to greet customers, answer general merchandise questions, stock shelves, take inventory and check out customers.”
The closure of the store also made sense because gluten-free products are more widely available that they were when the store opened in 2012.
“Through Greater Grain, we introduced the work and mission of Careers Industries to a broader audience in southeast Wisconsin, and we’re integrating our retail employment training program further into the community with the partnership of Piggly Wiggly,” Greene said.
Ralph Malicki, owner of the Piggly Wiggly on Washington Avenue, said he has long worked with Careers Industries and similar training programs his whole career.
“I didn’t see saying no as an option,” Malicki said. “We’re going to be a host site for them… We’re going to offer them more experiences that are relevant for retail and repetition, which is needed for training.”
Malicki said he’s going to work with Greene to see what products were the grocery store’s top-sellers to see if those items could also be sold at his store if they already on his store shelves.
“We’re trying to make this as seamless as possible,” he said.