BY KRISTI FISH | MIRROR REPORTER — Sunshine Communities and the businesses it owns have become well-known in the Maumee community over the past several decades. On Conant Street in uptown Maumee, Georgette’s Grounds & Gifts and Sunshine Studios have found their home.
For several years, people have been able to order their coffees and food in the front of Georgette’s and walk to the back of the store to purchase items from the gift shop, but for the past few months, customers have had to walk a little bit further to find those gifts.
“After many years in operation, the gift shop located in the back of Georgette’s made a move to Sunshine Studios after the 2022 holidays,” said Sunshine communications manager Lana Smucker. “Sunshine Studios is a great place to find all of your mission-driven shopping under one roof, whether it’s handmade by individuals who work at Sunshine Studios or artisans across the globe.”
When visiting Sunshine Studios, customers will be able to purchase the items they once found at the gift shop in Georgette’s along with many handcrafted products.
“Sunshine Studios is an art studio, gift shop and employment site for individuals with developmental disabilities. Two employment groups work on creating the items that are sold in the gift shop. One group specializes in clay work and the other group weaves rugs and much more,” Smucker explained.
Job coaches assist the groups and provide guidance for the employees who work at the art studio.
While Sunshine Studios allows residents the opportunity to purchase fair trade items and handmade, local products, it also offers hands-on experiences.
Different art classes are offered at the 305 Conant St. space throughput the year. On the website sunshinestudio.org or the Sunshine Studios Facebook page, those interested can register and find out more about each art class offered.
The move allows Sunshine Studios the opportunity to provide customers with mission-driven shopping all in one place, Smucker said, but the move will also be good for Georgette’s.
“The back area of Georgette’s will see some exciting changes within the next few months. The space will be transformed to allow for soft seating with couches and chairs to make more space for groups to be seated,” Smucker noted.
Georgette’s staff will be able to better serve the community and meet the needs of customers with an updated space, she added.
Aside from the drinks, meals and baked goods, customers will have the opportunity to purchase local and regional products including chocolates, jams, syrups and honey. Customers can stop in the 311 Conant St. shop from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday to purchase these goods.
The space will still allow individuals with developmental disabilities the opportunity to work in several areas of the shop while providing an improved service to the community.
All of this is part of the mission of Sunshine Communities.
“Georgette’s Grounds & Gifts and Sunshine Studios are both owned and operated by Sunshine Com-munities. These spaces, staples of the Maumee uptown, are both retail spaces where the public can support Sunshine, but also ‘supported employment’ sites for individuals with developmental disabilities,” Smucker said.
More information on Sunshine Communities can be found online at sunshine.org.