Shop's mission to help those with disabilities sparked by bond between brother, sister
WEAVERVILLE, N.C. -- A business celebrates a grand opening--and an inspiring mission--in Weaverville.
"Hi! Welcome to Shabby Chic," co-owner Ryan Rotundo says to a customer. "You know we're trying to create an opportunity to empower people with developmental disabilities."
At Shabby Chic Consignment Boutique, the mission to support adults with disabilities was sparked by a special bond between brother and sister.
"It's incredible," he says, choking up. "I mean, I think the world truly underestimates the abilities of people we label as having a disability."
His sister Nicole Rotundo is our Person Of The Week, and she provided the impetus for their vision to help.
Ryan is Nicole's brother. He's also a special education teacher at North Buncombe High.
The boutique has been at 460 Weaverville Rd. since last year, but now its business model has changed.
"The unemployment rate for adults living with developmental disabilities in North Carolina is nearly eighty percent," Ryan says.
"I was born and raised with Down syndrome and this is my art." his sister explains.
Shabby Chic opens the door for vendors like Nicole, whose "Cards From My Heart" collection are for sale at the store.
Every splash of ink captures her spirit.
"And you can help support her next adventure and her next big goal by buying cards, that are pretty well priced, might I add," Rotundo says, still selling.
Seeing her example as a big sister and college graduate had a huge impact on the teacher and entrepreneur Ryan's become.
Ryan says what's in the cards is special.
"It's a cool story," he explains to Nicole. "It's crazy that it's ours. I love you."
"She's been an incredible inspiration," Ryan says.
Visit the Shabby Chic Consignment Boutique on Facebook here.