When Gregory Campone graduated from high school, he set out to find a job, but like many job-seekers today, he didn’t have much luck. For Campone, the search was made even more difficult because he requires the use of a wheelchair and, as his mother Silvia Campone explains, “There wasn’t a lot out there [job-wise] that met Greg’s needs.”
Still, Gregory did not want to sit home. “To sit home day in and day out, it’s stifling,” Silvia says.
Determined to be productive, mother and son brainstormed business ideas and came up with an e-Bay business called Recycling Avenue, with the main goal of providing jobs for the physically challenged.
Housed in a donated workspace in Wheeling, Illinois, with several employees, Recycling Avenue has sold over 2000 donated items since its inception in late 2007, with all revenue going to employees’ salaries. Employees are paid on an hourly basis and also earn sales commission.
Working in teams, co-founder PJ Flaherty types e-Bay listings while Gregory checks for errors. “He follows my work to make sure I don’t miss anything. He’s got great eyes for spell checking,” Flaherty says.
The other aspect of the business involves collecting old cell phones, laptops, MP3 players, cameras and other electronics, which are either refurbished for sale on e-Bay or turned over to an accredited recycler who pays for them. There are currently drop-off boxes in over 26 locations in the Chicagoland area.
Now in its fourth year, the business is thriving and so are its employees. As Silvia says, “Gregory, like anybody else, wants to be productive. You want to give back.”
In answering Stop and Blog the Roses' favorite question ~ what are you grateful for? ~ Silvia says "We are grateful for creating Recycling Avenue and being with each other."
Check out this video and see Recycling Avenue in action.
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