[Nfbmo] A Candy Shop Could Be This Family's Ticket To GettingOff Disability

Nancy Lynn freespirit at accessibleworld.org
Fri Jun 29 22:14:53 UTC 2012

I got this from another list.


A Candy Shop Could Be This Family's Ticket To Getting Off Disability

Jill Krasny|

Jun. 28, 2012,  2:51 PM | 411 |  


On paper, Richard and Heather Garza are just regular Americans struggling to get by on disability. Heather is nearly blind while Richard's confined to a

wheelchair. They also have 12-year-old Daemon to support. 


But rather than let their tight budget constrict their lives, the couple's used their disability to whip up something sweet: Garza's Goodies Chocolates

& Confections. 


In the early 90s, Richard and Heather were living on $900/month in disability and whatever they could scrounge up from part-time, infrequent work. Heather,

40, worked two jobs, while Richard, 43, floated from one sales job to another. When they married in 1996, they vowed to turn their lives around and get

off disability for good. 


"A good portion of our income went toward rent, while another portion would go to utilities," Richard told 

Business Insider.

"It didn't exactly leave a whole lot left over for Christmas presents. Whatever was left went to gas and groceries." 


As the oldest of six children, Heather knew her way around the kitchen and loved to bake. Working with her hands calmed her, and the quickbreads, cakes

and cookies she made for friends and family were a hit around holidays. 


In 2006, the couple moved to Lake City, Florida for the warmer climate. By this point, they were earning enough to have cable TV and Heather had gotten

hooked on Alton Brown's show, "Good Eats." Her obsession turned to truffles, though they looked a lot more "like puddles of chocolate," joked Richard.

No matter, they made great ganache fillings. 


"Heather started toying with what to add to it," which improved the candy, said Richard. "She added alcohol like brandy and amaretto, and we continued making

these truffles, bon bons and peanut butter balls." 


Garza's Chocolate


At a friend's urging, the couple sold their cellophane-wrapped goodies at a church bake sale. They earned a little more than $600 in one weekend, an easy

feat considering they'd baked everything at home.


When the couple made another $1,000 selling gift baskets, they added two more goals to their list: Open a candy shop and create more jobs. 


Setting up shop 


In August 2007, the couple returned to Kansas City to be closer to Heather's ailing mother. They continued baking their candies in their 100-year-old house

downtown, earning as much as $2,000 in a couple of weeks.


"We'd heard that certain state agencies that work with the disabled were making inroads into sponsoring entrepreneurship so we looked at the agencies for

the blind and physically handicapped and started there to open the store," said Richard. 


Through Missouri's Vocational Rehabilitation program, Heather was able to get a laptop with vision enhancement and a TV that hooked up to a small camera

so she could view her confections up close. Richard received an electronic wheelchair, a moving table, and a cash register. Cookware and a tempering machine



To raise even more money, the couple turned to the crowdfunding site 


and managed to bankroll 142 percent of their $5,500 goal, taking home $7,800. Local news also featured the candies, inspiring viewers to send in checks. 


Since the store officially opened on Father's Day, Richard said it's been an uphill battle to make it profitable. They're currently participating in Chase's


Mission: Small Business program

for their shot at $25,000 in grants. 


Garza's Chocolate


"Most of our money goes toward household expenses or investing in the business," he said. "We give employees their paychecks, pay for utiltiies, ingredients

and so on. Whatever the sales don't cover, we do. That's what being a store owner is all about." 


But the Garzas have crossed two goals off their list: They created five jobs and opened the store. 


"Beyond the three up front goals was the base goal of being a good example for our son," Garza said. "We wanted to show him that if you're going to get

anywhere in life, you have to go out and create your life." 


The candy shop's 


is being revamped, but you can get your fix by calling 816-569-0278 or dropping by the store at 322 West 85th Street, Kansas City, Mo. 




Denny Huff- President

Missouri Council of the Blind

P: (636) 262-1383

TF: (888) 362-1383

F: (314) 558-0298

Phone Cast: (816) 298-8969


DHuff at MoBlind.Org


The purpose of Missouri Council of the Blind shall be to promote the general well-being of our members and legally blind people in Missouri, and to support

or participate in other programs promoting the best interests of legally blind people everywhere.




Your host: Denny Huff

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