A large part of what the New Hope Center has done successfully over the decades has been to help its developmentally disabled participants become more self-sufficient in society.
As changes in laws and additional proposed new laws continue to threaten government funding sources, the New Hope Center has also had to look to become more self-sufficient.
Enter the New Hope Center’s micro enterprises, which is a budding source of revenue to help fund all the good work done by the Chilton facility.
“We kind of accidentally got into it,” said Greg Logemann, president and chief executive officer of New Hope Center. He explained that two or three years ago the New Hope Center workshop was going through a slow time, a reflection of the slow time being experienced by area companies which have long fed New Hope Center’s workers assembly and labeling jobs for those companies’ products.
Do it themselves
About that same time New Hope Center also went through a rebranding process and created a new logo, so it needed to get new shirts for its staff and workers. Logemann said as they studied the cost of that it became clear that this might be an opportunity to go into the screenprinting and heat transfer business, and Made by M. E. micro-enterprises was born.
Grants from the Chilton Area Community Foundation and others helped get Made by M. E. up and running, and it had $20,000 in revenue in its first year printing designs onto shirts for a number of clients.
Last year the Made by M. E. revenue number grew to $27,000 as the enterprise can also put designs onto mugs, can koozies, and a wide variety of garments.
Logemann said New Hope Center has not marketed its micro-enterprises a lot to date because of at least some concerns about being able to meet the volume and delivery expectations of customers.
But most if not all those customers understand that one of the great benefits of Made by M. E. is that it provides another outlet for work for developmentally disabled individuals. New Hope Center’s Martha Leppanen, director of services, and Joe Weidensee, director of commercial operations, said between 10 and 15
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