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You Love Hugs Café ' Get Ready for Hugs Greenhouse

You Love Hugs Café ' Get Ready for Hugs Greenhouse

June 01, 2018

We’ve got some exciting news! Hugs Café is expanding into the gardening business, and we couldn’t be happier. The new Hugs Greenhouse will be located at 3054 CR 205 near Trinity Falls.

If you are unfamiliar with Hugs (Helping Us Grow Strong), it is a non-profit organization dedicated to using its resources to train and employ adults with special needs. The downtown McKinney café was its first venture, but Ruth Thompson, Hugs founder and president, wanted to do more.

“There is a great need for jobs for adults with special needs,” Thompson said. “Nationally, unemployment among adults with special needs is 87 percent. According to the 2010 Census, there were 47,000 people with special needs in Collin County alone. That number is growing. For every 100 people, there are 3 people with special needs. In McKinney, there are approximately 80 people moving in every day, which means 2.5 people have special needs.”

In 2012, Thompson had a dream — two nights in a row — about opening a restaurant staffed by special needs adults. Her dream became a reality with the opening of Hugs Café in 2015. Three years later, Thompson found herself looking for ways to employ special needs adults who couldn’t work in the café.

“Not everyone’s disabilities will allow them to work in a restaurant setting,” Thompson said. “After watching some of our teammates enjoy working in the herb garden behind the café, it came to me, why not open a Hugs Greenhouse where we grow plants to sell to the general public?”

Thompson put out a call on Facebook and was gratified to find support for the idea, including an offer from David and Kari Shelton to donate the land the greenhouse would be built on. Bill Crump, the former owner of Crump’s Nursery in McKinney, volunteered to run operations at the greenhouse.

Crump plans to start by growing perennials and bedding plants then hopes to work up to vegetables to supplement what’s used in the café.

“It will be good to get back into the business,” Crump said. “It will be great to come to work and be with employees who are truly happy to be there. It’s going to be very rewarding.”

The complex will include two covered greenhouses, one open greenhouse and a barn used as a break room, storage and office space. The barn also will be used as a studio where employees can learn to make items such as wooden planters, wind chimes and more. In addition to the barn, the greenhouse will have a retail shop by the road. It is expected to be up and running by mid-July.

Thompson says that’s just the start.

“The sky’s the limit,” Thompson said. “We have been so blessed.”

We would just like to say, “Welcome to the neighborhood!”