At a glance
* The second PIER Foundation thrift store, 1862 Buford Hwy., is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
* The store will hold a grand opening event on Aug. 24 with refreshments and family-friendly activities.
* Drop-offs of items can be made at either store during normal hours, or pick-ups of large items can be scheduled by calling the north store at (678) 455-7437 or the south store at (770) 500-4883.
* For more information about the PIER Foundation, visit www.pierfoundation.org.
It’s been almost two years since Hutch and Cindy Matteson created the PIER Foundation to help adults with disabilities have a place to find employment and social interaction.
A new facility that recently opened is helping the Mattesons continue and expand that mission.
In September 2011, the Mattesons opened the first PIER — short for Provide Inspiration, Employment and Resources — thrift store on Browns Bridge Road in north Forsyth, providing employment to six adults with disabilities.
On Aug. 2, the couple opened the foundation’s second thrift store site at 1862 Buford Hwy. in southeastern Forsyth.
“We hope to be able to offer five or so more jobs down here at this store in the next couple of months,” Cindy Matteson said of the new store.
Currently, the PIER Foundation provides jobs to 13 adults with disabilities. Employees range from those with mild cognitive delays to others with conditions such as Down syndrome and cerebral palsy.
Several of the employees are working at the both the north Forsyth store and the new site, which will have a grand opening event Aug. 24 with refreshments and family-friendly activities.
Once everything is up and running smoothly at the second store, Matteson said, she and Hutch hope to add new employees who would work just there.
The new store is less than half the size of the north Forsyth location, but there’s still plenty of room for numerous items, including clothing, shoes, books, home decorations and furniture.
“This building was formerly an interior design studio, so the space is perfect for our purposes,” Matteson said. “It has a beautiful display floor up front and a plenty of room in the back for sorting and organizing items.”
The north Forsyth location has grown a large customer base, said Matteson, who added that she hopes to establish that same relationship with people at the other one.
She said one of the nearby neighborhoods has adopted the store with e-mail blasts and fliers to its residents.
“We’ve had those folks bringing in items and shopping with us already, so we hope to have a lot more of that from other south Forsyth communities,” she said.
The employees who have been working at the new site say they don’t mind splitting time between both locations.
“I like seeing everybody and cleaning,” said employee Ken Pruitt. “I’m a good cleaner.”
Barb Walls, who brings son Matt to both locations for work, said the PIER Foundation has meant a lot to her family since they relocated to Forsyth about a year ago from Florida.
“Everybody needs to be productive, everybody needs to feel useful and like they’re capable of doing things,” she said.
Matteson added that the adults with disabilities make wonderful employees.
“They’re good workers, they’re on time and they’re always happy,” she said. “If they weren’t coming here to work, most of them would just be sitting at home watching TV with nothing to do.
“They’re very appreciative of being able to come to work and they really enjoy the little things that many of us take for granted, like just getting to eat lunch with others.”