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People Inc. Celebrates Grand Opening of its People Shoppe in the Tri-Main Center

Jun 30, 2022


A new initiative where every purchase has a purpose to support people with disabilities
People Inc. opened its newest vocational initiative to provide people with intellectual and developmental disabilities the opportunity to engage with the community through meaningful activities and hands-on work experience through the People Shoppe. Every purchase supports the agency’s mission to provide inclusive experience, including training for a career in retail by exploring every aspect of operating a store from inventory to stocking to customer service to sales. Working toward achieving these skills at the store located at the Tri-Main Center, 2495 Main Street in Buffalo, NY, is part of the individualized goals that each of the participants set for themselves.

Speakers who addressed those gathered included: City of Buffalo Common Council Member Ulysees O. Wingo, Sr.; Erie County Office for People with Disabilities Director Frank Cammarata; Tri-Main Development President Matthew Wolfe; People Shoppe Ambassador Jackie Baich; People Inc. President and CEO Rhonda Frederick and People Inc. Vice President and Southeast Foundation Board Member Tim Pfohl. Members of the Project Development Team, funding partners, community leaders, People Inc. volunteers and staff, as well as people who participate in the People Shoppe experience also were in attendance.

People Inc. President and CEO Rhonda Frederick stated, “From an idea to a reality, this project has been a true collaborative journey with many people coming together to make this day possible, including Deaf Access Services, an affiliate of People Inc., Tri-Main Development, the Southeast Foundation Board, as well as all of the People Inc. support departments. The primary purpose of this space is not as a retail outlet, but instead a space for people to come and build relationships, engage with the community and enjoy a hands-on experience.” 

Frederick added, “Ensuring that people with developmental disabilities and varying abilities secure and maintain meaningful, competitive employment is an important part of what People Inc. does year-round. Hiring a qualified person with a disability brings greater benefits beyond just filling an open job – it means increased productivity, enhanced corporate culture and dedicated, loyal and efficient employees – all of which contribute to a company’s success!”

People Inc. Vice President and Southeast Foundation Board Member Tim Pfohl shared, “The participants from the programs, our Ambassadors, have focused on engaging the Tri-Main’s business tenants and guests, asking for their suggestions for items to carry, increasing traffic and sharing information about People Inc. in general. One group, using donated flowers, created arrangements and distributed them to all of the building’s tenants.”

People Inc., a multispecialty non-profit health and human services agency, provides programs and services to thousands of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, families and older adults throughout Western New York and the Greater Rochester region. Since 1970, People Inc. has assisted people to achieve greater degrees of independence and productivity. With nearly 4,000 employees, People Inc. is one of the region’s largest employers. To learn more, visit people-inc.org, follow People Inc. on Facebook or Twitter @PeopleIncNews.