Cindy LaJoy has three kids who have disabilities and she has constantly worried about where will they work once they get older.
This concern is quite common for other parents who have children with disabilities, Cindy said.
“We’ve talked to many parents over the years who were concerned about: What is their child going to do when they age out of school? Or how are they going to get real-life training once they’re out of school?” Cindy asked.
But now, a new Montrose restaurant, started up by the LaJoys, isn’t just about serving up a scoop of ice cream or a slice of pizza but also employing those with disabilities.
Buckaroos Slices and Scoops is a unique family-owned business in that regard, providing employment opportunities for those with developmental delays and cognitive challenges. Two-thirds of their employees have supported employment as they gain new skills to better prepare them for the working world.
“We got to thinking that maybe we could create something that could help them (the Lajoy children) and other people as well,” Cindy said.
This will become a reality soon as the restaurant will open with a grand opening celebration on Oct. 18 and 19 from 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. at 1518 E. Main St.
Operated by Dominick and Cindy LaJoy along with their children, Angela, Olesya and Kenny LaJoy, the idea for a take-out pizza and ice cream restaurant started as a homeschool project that came to fruition after a year of research, planning and construction.
The younger LaJoys have contributed to the project, developing the business and marketing plans, meeting with investors and performing much of the physical labor involved in building out the facility.
The ice cream comes from and crafted by Farr’s Ice Cream, another family-owned operation that has been for almost 100 years. Buckaroos will also be serving authentic Chicago-style Italian beef sandwiches and pizza-by-the-slice.
This variety of food will not only allow residents the chance for some cold ice cream and hot pizza but allows employment to those struggling to find a job.
Cindy will be an onsite coach as she has earned a certificate from the Association of Community Rehabilitation Educators (ACRE) in supported employment. ACRE is a national membership organization for trainers and educators who work in the field of employment for people with disabilities, according to its website.
Cindy said the staff is working with the Montrose County School District, as well as Community Options Inc., to help give those with disabilities a chance to work at Buckaroos.
The business will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday and Tuesday through Thursday, and from 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday. It’ll be closed on Mondays.
For more information, visit buckaroosmontrose.com.