In memory of Zecharya Avraham Boruch Shporer O.B.M.
So Tell Me…
What is ZABS Place?
ZABS Place is an upscale thrift boutique & employment training center for young adults with special needs run by the Friendship Circle of Charlotte. We have chosen a resale shop as our employment medium because it mirrors our goal of revealing hidden potential.
We’re a customer-centric atmosphere with a diverse assortment of quality resale merchandise and one-of-a-kind creations, made by local young adults with special needs, all at thrift shop prices. Our product lines include: clothing, furniture, books, and home décor.
Located in the heart of downtown Matthews, at 100 N. Trade St., we are in an area with easy access to public transportation and heavy foot traffic. Our store layout is both handicap-accessible and visually warm and inviting to create a warm and friendly environment.
ZABS Place also serves as a stepping stone to future employment opportunities at community businesses, utilizing skills developed and honed during employment with us.
Who runs it?
Our director is Rochel Groner whose has experience in the retail industry and as a graphic and web designer. Both these qualities complement her hobbies of thrifting and furniture refinishing. Additionally, Rochel is very familiar with the special needs community in Charlotte, through her work as program director at the Friendship Circle. By leveraging her varied insights and knowledge, Rochel has created a truly unique shopping experience.
Why are you doing this?
Our community was in need of programs that address the employment needs of young adults with autism and other special needs. Too many of these young people graduate high school without the skills required to continue their education or get and hold a job. While many of these individuals have unique talents, the majority of jobs available to them are janitorial positions and grocery bagging. Left with few alternatives these individuals spend most of their time at home or in programs that are little more than babysitting.
What’s your vision for the future?
We envision a community where young adults with special needs can transition from high school to the adult working world with dignity. With the launch of ZABS Place, we see the Charlotte community more able to recognize abilities in others and see past external differences. We foresee special young adults able to capitalize on their strengths, acquire essential job skills, realize their potential, and gain confidence in interacting with their typically developing peers.
What’s with the trendy name ZABS?
Trendy? Maybe. Meaningful? Definitely!
ZABS is the acronym of the Hebrew name of a young man named Zachary. A happy, athletic, positive, take-over-the-world (in a good way) teen. He was awesome to be around. His friends and family loved him. His teachers raved about him. He was passionate about helping others, especially children and teens with special needs. That’s how he got involved in the Friendship Circle (link.)
When Zachary was 18, he was diagnosed with a horrific form of Leukemia. He fought a ferocious battle and bravely faced the challenges and suffering no 18 year old should know. Ever! Zachary went into a remission for a short while but unfortunately the dreaded disease came back, and Zachary was taken from us at the young age of 19.
ZABS Place reminds us of Zecharya Avraham Boruch Shporer and the incredible example he lived and taught.
Donation & Warehouse Manager
Supported Employment Coordinator
Furniture Refinishing Services