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Down Syndrome Entrepreneur Shows How It's Done with Special Kneads

Posted by Brian Spence on Jun 4, 2018 8:00:00 AM

Pie, Special Kneads, Behavioral Health, Down SyndromeIf you're ever in the mood for a homemade cranberry-apple pie, the best place to find one is in Broome County New York at the Regional Farmer's Market. What's so special about these pies?

They come from a bakery called Special Kneads in nearby Endicott, started by a woman with Down Syndrome. Her name is Angela Tallman and Angela makes heavenly pies.

At 34, Angela was crushed by the loss of her job at a sheltered workshop when the State of New York eliminated her position in an effort to move developmentally disabled employees into the private sector. Angela was proud of her independence; she lived in a group home and earned her own money. "That job meant everything to her," said Angela's mother, Elaine Tallman.

But Anglea didn't let unemployment or Down Syndrome defeat her. She decided to open her own business. And that is how Special Kneads was born. With the help of her parents, friends, a local assemblywoman, Donna Lupardo, and the assistance of the Cornell Cooperative Extension, Angela started her baking business, "Gifted Sweets by Special Kneads".

She and her pies made their first public appearance two days before Christmas at the Broome County Farmer's Market to great success. Her entire stock of pies was sold out in less than half an hour and she went home with orders for 85 additional pies.

Amy Willis, Commercial Kitchen Coordinator & Market Readiness agent from the Cornell Extension office is thrilled with Angela's success, "We work with the small businesses of Broome County to grow them into something more and that doesn't stop with any specific type person,"

Angela is hoping that some of her friends with disabilities will be able to join her in the business and earn a paycheck too. Tom Tillman, Angela's dad, supports his daughter's dreams that, "other handicapped children come join us and continue this endeavor."

Contact us if you are interested in finding employment working with the developmentally disabled or any behavioral health position.

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