About 100 Boulderites joined us last night to celebrate Ramble on Pearl’s 5 years in business – not just as a thriving clothing boutique but more importantly as a host for our apprentice program. Since we launched our apprentice program in September 2014, we’ve had 34 individuals participating in our programs with 31 having secured independent community employment – that means once we help them transition to their new jobs as program graduates, they become self-sufficient in their jobs and no longer dependent on a job coach. We are so impressed with the dedication and commitment of our program graduates – their average tenure in these jobs is 20 months. A case in point is Kate, our first program graduate, who has been at her job with the Longmont Humane Society for 4-½ years!
On hand to help us celebrate the success of these amazing individuals were a number of local dignitaries, including: Bob Yates (Boulder City Council), Alan Rogers & Chip (Downtown Boulder Partnership), Nancy Chin-Wagner (Boulder Chamber of Commerce), Lane Landrith (Boulder City).
Representing our Brand Partners were: Kevin Piersol (Kuhl) and Alexis Beunig (Sherpani). We also had a number of representatives on hand from employers of our graduates: Sarah Colbert (Buffalo Exchange), March Miller (The Organic Sandwich Company), and Jacob Street (Spice of Life Catering).
Finally, we would be remiss not to mention Contour Printworks. Representing them were Tim Feaver, Matt Arveson and Jim Remnant. Not only has Contour Printworks hired two of our graduates (Taisia and Ian), but they also provided us with some awesome custom labeled beer supplied to us by our friends at Upslope Brewing.
A highlight of the event was shared by Jeremy Durham & Laura Sheinbaum of Boulder Housing Partners (BHP). Jeremy and Laura joined us at last year’s celebration and almost immediately hired one of our program graduates, Gray.
But last night, they joined our celebration for a very special purpose. Over the past year, we have been exploring opportunities to expand our mission to support the quality affordable housing needs of adults with developmental disabilities in collaboration with BHP. Halfway through the evening, we therefore shifted gears from celebrating the past to looking forward to an exciting new future when Jeremy and Andy Minden (Ramble on Pearl’s President) signed lease agreements for the commercial/retail space at the 30Pearl Project. BHP’s 30Pearl affordable housing project comprises three apartment buildings inter-mixed with market rate housing. This includes one 40-unit building where half of the units have been designated for adults with developmental disabilities. Ramble on Pearl will operate a second social enterprise business venture at this location to host a capacity expansion of our apprentice program. We will also provide support services to the residents of the apartment building to help them connect with each other and engage with the community.
At our gathering, we also celebrated the not so recent arrival of our new store manager Bozica Van Landingham who joined us last April and has been instrumental in driving the commercial success of our boutique these past months. Compared to 2018, our 2019 summer season showed a 50% increase in sales at Ramble delivering much needed financial resources in support of our apprenticeship program. Bozica treats every customer with a warm welcome and makes sure their experience is delightful regardless of whether they just stopped in off the street, or if they are a regular shopper. The result is that although you may have come in expecting to purchase that one special item, you leave with a bag full. That is being Bozica’d!