PETERBOROUGH — Periwinkle Flowers, a nonprofit flower shop that plans to employ people with special needs, has sprouted downtown.
Laurie Schwabe runs the store at 10 School St., which operates under Jaffrey-based nonprofit Perfect Peace, run by her husband, Matthias. That group, which serves people with special needs, received a grant, which they decided to use to provide employment opportunities for that population, Laurie Schwabe said.
“There isn’t a lot of work out there for them, so we tried to figure out some type of work that would provide a lot of different jobs,” she said. They settled on a flower shop because it entails a variety of roles, including making flower arrangements and cleaning the shop, Schwabe added.
“Everybody deserves to be able to get up in the morning and have a purpose, and have something to do,” Schwabe said. “... So that was our goal, is that we are going to create jobs for them so we can work together and do something that, hopefully, will build our community, bring it together in a different way.”
Periwinkle Flowers eventually hopes to open a greenhouse, too, and provide up to 10 jobs for people with special needs. For now, the shop only has one employee working with Schwabe.
“With COVID being what it is, we just really can’t expose individuals to working in that kind of environment where people are in and out,” she said. Still, Schwabe added that she gets phone calls regularly asking about job opportunities at the shop.
Both Laurie and Matthias Schwabe have a background in special needs services. Before moving to Peterborough, their family lived and worked at Plowshare Farm in Greenfield, a community for adults with developmental disabilities.
Periwinkle Flowers is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call 831-8349.