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Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

Ramble on Pearl - A Boutique Outlet with Social Purpose

A dear friend recently said visiting a Chihuly exhibit with me was like going to the zoo with his young grandson.  That’s how excited I get about things I love. And, boy, do I love Chihuly. I do not love shopping. Going shopping with me can be like taking a two-year-old to buy clothes. Not fun.

What do I find fun? Anything, and I mean anything, related to nonprofits, social good, business, and engaging people in creating positive change. So, it was with mixed feelings that I made my first visit to Ramble on Pearl.

On the one hand, I was ecstatic to see a nonprofit SVP Boulder County has been working with, Boulder Treasures, realize its dream of opening a social enterprise.  On the other hand, it meant visiting a retail shop. (Did I mention I don’t like shopping?)

Within moments of walking into Ramble on Pearl that tantrum-prone two-year-old within me was nowhere to be found. Here was a work of art to rival any glass crafted by Chihuly.

I was immediately welcomed by Mathew, a young man with autism, who has donated some of his original artwork to decorate the store. His work is breathtakingly beautiful and I’ve already ‘mentioned’ to my sweetie how lovely it would be to have some adorning our walls. (Learn how to purchase his work when you visit Ramble on Pearl.)

Next I was introduced to one of Ramble’s inaugural apprentice associates taking part in their workforce development program.  Kendra has a cognitive disability and is learning about how to work in a retail environment with the help of training from Boulder Treasures and Imagine!, support from other associates, and the guidance of a case management team.  Kendra helpfully pointed out some dresses I might like and was kind enough to pose for this picture with her service dog, Tia.

The goal of Boulder Treasures is to create pathways to long-term meaningful employment. Across Colorado, 75% of individuals with cognitive disabilities are unemployed. Of those who do have jobs, approximately two-thirds earn sub-minimum wages in irregular “enclave” employment isolated from the general public. Founders Andy & Connie Minden find these statistics unacceptable. SVP agrees.

Connie showed me the extensive selection of active-living themed clothing, gifts, and bags available for purchase at Ramble on Pearl. The product is all new and has been donated by companies such as Skirt Sports, Blue Platypus, and Sherpani.

A boutique outlet store for social good – be still my heart!  I got a great price on stuff I would buy anyway and the store can support its workforce development programs for adults with cognitive disabilities.  That’s a win for the whole community.  Suddenly, I was actually having fun shopping!

I’ll be going back soon but I hope you beat me there. Check out this new Boulder gem.  Learn more about the important work of Boulder Treasures and Imagine!.  Post a picture of yourself shopping on social media. And, don’t forget to spread the word.

Ramble on Pearl 
1638 Pearl St Boulder, Colorado 80302
Monday – Friday: 10am – 6pm
Saturday: 10am – 8pm
Sunday: 11am – 5pm

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