This Bryn Mawr Gift Shop Is Fully Stocked with Inventory and Inclusiveness

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two shoppers stand beside Eric at his gift store
Image via Something Different Facebook page, Bernadette Wheeler.
Eric at his Bryn Mawr shop with two customers.

Bernadette Wheeler and her husband opened a Bryn Mawr gift store without a profit motive. Instead, they wanted to make a difference, specifically for their 30-year-old son Eric, who has Down’s Syndrome. Something Different by Eric is a place that celebrates people who work through their disabilities, reports abc13, Houston.

Upon entering the store, shoppers are greeted by a smiling and friendly Eric, who is also the store’s stocker and brand ambassador. Visitors can find an assortment of items such Eagles regalia, pillows of inspirational people, and items for the dog or cat lover

The nonprofit store also aims to support women-owned businesses. Hand-crafted purses made in Swaziland are just one of the myriad items for sale. The money made in each sale goes back to the South African women who produce them.

Guests can also purchase books about people with disabilities catered for a range of age groups. 

Wheeler says it can be difficult for people like her son to find employment. She’s hoping to hire more people with disabilities, including a cashier. She also wants to host programming about different issues in the disability world and to provide support for families.  

“He knows that this is his store, this is his place, he feels comfortable with it. And the community has been able to see that people with different needs can actually make a difference,” Wheeler said.

Learn more about how Something Different by Eric helps people with disabilities at abc13.

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