Archive | March, 2013

Thank You!

25 Mar


This week is Spring Break at WCA and our staff is enjoying a well deserved vacation.  During this down time, we wanted to take a few minutes to thank the people who have helped us on our journey so far.

We are so encouraged by everyone who has followed us on Facebook (we have over 200 fans!), bought t-shirts, given donations and shared the story of the Swanky Swine with their friends.



Thank you for providing the tools we need to effectively train our employees.



Thank you for encouraging our students and inspiring them learn something new.


Thank you for empowering them to reach their full potential.

We are so excited to see where this journey takes us and we are thankful for the partners who support us every step along the way!!



March Employee of the Month

19 Mar

Every month we pick an employee of the month.  The employee of the month is someone who works hard and meets or exceeds our employee expectations. These expectations include:

  • following directions
  • having a positive attitude
  • practicing good customer service including making eye contact & smiling
  • wearing a uniform when scheduled to work
  • washing their hands before working and practicing proper food handling
  • increasing knowledge of prices & products
  • Making an effort to learn money math skills including adding purchases, making change and using a calculator

This month, Allison Tremblay, was our employee of the month.



Allison always works really hard at the store.  She takes her job very seriously and puts a lot of effort into everything she is asked to do.   She is very professional with all of our customers. She was one of the students that was interviewed when news channel 8 came out and did a story. The whole school was very proud of the great job she did!

Allison said, “I like working at the Swanky Swine because it is fun and I get to work on my math skills.  I also learn what it means to be a good employee so I can go out in the world and get a good job and be a good employee.  My favorite thing is doing the cashier and handling money.  Working at the store helps me to be confident.”

Allison said the most important thing to do if you want to be a good employee is “to listen to your boss and always be clean before you start working.”

Congratulations Allison!




St.Patrick’s Day Special

12 Mar


Lucky Charms and Trix Marshmallow Treats

Our First TV Appearance

9 Mar

This was one of our most exciting weeks yet! On Tuesday afternoon we received an email from Jennifer Leigh from WFLA (our local NBC station) who said she wanted to come out and film our store.  The employees knew that this was a possibility but they were really surprised to hear that they were coming so quickly.  We spent Wednesday morning setting up the store and practicing answering questions about their jobs. They were so excited but also really nervous.  The employees learned the best way to combat nerves is to be well prepared.


We had been told that they were coming “as long as there was no breaking news.” So when the car pulled up at the school, the students were thrilled. They all cheered (some panicked for a moment but they pulled it together) and then got to work.


The camera man started filming the shift immediately. We were really busy! The employees did a great job of continuing the shift and taking care of all the customers even though they were nervous to be on camera.  Even Jennifer Leigh commented on what a great job they did “ignoring the camera” while they worked. They made all of us really proud!


After the rush, Jennifer interviewed 2 of our employees about their jobs and what they have learned so far.  Dimitri and Allison did such an awesome job answering questions about the Swanky Swine “which stands for the fancy pig”.  They told Jennifer what we sold at the store, the most popular items, and how we decide what to sell.  They also talked about what they want to do after they graduate from school and how much confidence they have gained from this job.  It was inspiring to see how far they have come in such a short time.


We were so happy with the story that WFLA aired on Thursday night.  The fact that the news came out really boosted the employees confidence and made them even more proud of their jobs.  They are starting to believe in their abilities and this is making all of the difference.  The outpouring of support has been amazing and they all feel like stars.  Jennifer Leigh even posted the kids picture on her Facebook site.

Screen Shot 2013-03-09 at 10.33.36 AM

The Swanky Swine story has been shared over and over and is currently one of the most popular videos on WFLA’s site.  We hope that this publicity helps us to garner the support we need to expand. We also hope that others will be inspired to focus on people’s abilities instead of their disabilities.

On Friday we broke another sales record at the store. All of the students loved that Woodlawn Community had received such great publicity.


We even offered a new item, since our employees are all tv stars now


All in all it was a great week. We are excited, encouraged and can’t wait to see what’s next!

group pic


In case haven’t had a chance to watch the video yet, here’s the link:

Swanky Swine store something special in Clearwater


Special needs students are running their own business in Clearwater

8 Mar

Special needs students are running their own business in Clearwater.

Click on this link to see our news story on Channel 8 WFLA. Jennifer Leigh did such a great job with the story. We are so proud of our employees and all of their hard work!

National Pig Day!

2 Mar

Woodlawn Community Academy, where we are located, has an amazing and supportive parent board.  This year the parent board raised the funds to purchase 40 ipads for the students to use in small groups.  This week, we started using the iPads at the Swanky Swine. We downloaded the Square register application ( to use as our cash register. The application allows us to take pictures of all of our products and input our own prices.  We can even take credit cards! The employees love it and it makes adding purchases, making change and tracking sales really easy.


We started on Monday by introducing the program and letting the students practice ringing in sales.


Each pair of students shared an ipad and they took turns acting out the customer and the cashier for practice. The person who was playing the customer never made it easy on the cashier. Marlena ordered one of everything and then added 20 more blow pops.



DSC_0056 DSC_0032

The iPads really enhance our employment training.  The register program we chose is currently utilized in more than a million small businesses.  Even Starbucks has recently started accepting Square payments.  Proficiency in this application will be an asset to future employers.

The employees picked up the register very quickly and we started using it in our store on Wednesday.



We set up 2 registers so we could serve our customers quickly.  We had to adjust our processes a little so the first day was a bit bumpy.  We’re running out of space again! However, the employees stuck it out and by the end of the shift were a lot more comfortable.



Friday was National Pig Day so of course we had to honor our namesake.  We offered bacon brownies that were a bit hit!



It ended up being one of our busiest shifts this year.  After our bumpy shift on Wednesday, we made a few small changes that really helped the Friday crew have a smooth shift.  After ringing up each purchase, the students use their money math skills to give proper change to every customer.  The iPads have really boosted the employees confidence and it was awesome to watch them work so quickly and proficiently.  They enjoyed being able to track their sales and became really invested in “getting our number higher.”

All in all it was an exciting week at the Swanky Swine.  When asked how they liked working with the iPads both shifts responded with these pictures:



I’d say they were a hit.