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



One Response to “Our First TV Appearance”

  1. Christy Warden March 10, 2013 at 1:35 pm #

    Such a amazing day for our children. My heart was so full watching our young adults take such pride in running their business. Ms. Jennifer Tollefson is doing such a great job bringing a dream that our school has had come to life. Thank you for all you do, It is so cute to watch our young adults think they really are stars.

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