My first job ever was working for a popcorn shop in Minneapolis.  I wanted to save enough money to buy a car (and I did!).  So I went out and found a job and started working.  Unfortunately it's not that straight forward and easy for a portion of the population.  Many face barriers that make acquiring a job difficult.

Photo by YouTube via KARE 11
Photo by YouTube via KARE 11
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But now there's a brand new Popcorn shop, Highland Popcorn, that's getting ready to open on Super Bowl Sunday. It's located in St. Paul's Highland Park and they'll serve all the delicious varieties that you love. But they'll also be providing meaningful employment for people with autism and developmental disabilities.

Photo by YouTube via KARE 11
Photo by YouTube via KARE 11
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The man behind this nonprofit shop is 35 year Lawyer Shamus O'Meara. He's the father of a 26 year old with autism. He's been working on bringing this business to fruition for nearly 5 years.  The nonprofit MSS is helping as their workforce partner.  O'Meara's son Conor will serve as the shops communications director.

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Photo by YouTube via KARE 11
Photo by YouTube via KARE 11
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O'Meara said in an interview with KARE 11:

Just being a part of the fabric of our community. I think that's an important aspect to really anyone but someone with a disability... it's a life-changing situation when they when they get a job.

O'Meara went on to point out that transportation can be a challenge for people with disabilities. So they are working through those issues as well.  Plus, the shop provides a sensory room for the employees when they need a break.

The space the shop is located in is owned by Lunds & Byerly's and in a few weeks you'll be able to buy the popcorn in many Lunds & Byerly's locations.

Highland Popcorn is located at 2138 Ford Parkway, St. Paul, MN 55116.

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