DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) — There are very few places for adults with developmental disabilities to work in North Alabama. However, one couple in Decatur is working to change that.

Inspired by their daughter with a rare brain disorder, Jeff and Andrea Sharp created Sunshine Everyday Thrift Store to provide a place for people like their daughter to find a meaningful and fulfilling work environment. 

Bryant Woodall told News 19 he loves his job sorting clothes that come into the store.  

“I really like working here. I really enjoy it,” he explained. “It gives me a chance to meet other people.”

“Bryant makes stacks so we figure out men’s, women’s, kids and what we can keep and what is too worn to keep,” said Jeff Sharp, who hired Bryant after months of volunteering at the store.  

Bryant has an intellectual disability. Sharp wants to make the world a little more inclusive by giving individuals with special needs a chance to work in an inclusive environment.  

The husband-and-wife team founded the store in September with the goal of not only providing jobs but also socialization and a place for adults with special needs to interact.

“A lot of people with disabilities are not seen by society,” Sharp explained. “You don’t see them in public, you don’t see them working in places. A lot of the time you don’t see people with disabilities in school or church. They are the least employed and least politically represented facet of society.” 

Travis English has Down Syndrome, also works at the store. He has a vast knowledge of music and books. His mother, Lisa English, says that working at the store has helped him to create social connections. 

“He’s becoming more social and he’s talking more,” she explained. “Travis is also interacting with the general public, and he has his fan club so-to-speak.”

Most people with disabilities do not have the success of landing a job. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2021, only 19% of people with a disability were employed. An 80% jobless rate is something that sharp and the thrift store hopes to change in Morgan County. 

“My hope is that other businesses see what we are doing and emulate it one employee at a time,” said Sharp.  

Everyday Sunshine Thrift store is located at 1311 19th Avenue SE in Decatur. For more information, click here.