Over 200 community members came out to Fuller Engine Service on Saturday, July 13th for an open house event highlighting the new social enterprise business. Everyone braved the 100+ degree heat to tour the air-conditioned sales floor and repair shop, which was leased by Southeast Health Group last December. The business is one component of SHG’s vocational training program.
“Our intent is to keep providing great service to the community and use this as an opportunity to build the local workforce.” - JC Carrica
Guests munched on hotdogs and chips, and made positive comments on the newly cleaned and organized shop. Big Country 92.1’s Marty and Kerri provided a live radio remote and big drawings were held live on air. The winners were Alisha Johnson ($100 service/repair card), Cliff Hosea ($100 service/repair card), Leonard Tafoya (Stihl Trimmer - $199 value) and Bart Tilton (Mantis Mini Tiller - $385 value). Several SHG staff members, including CEO JC Carrica, were also interviewed live.
“We wanted to see small engine repair services continue to be available in La Junta,” said Carrica. “Our intent is to keep providing great service to the community, and use this as an opportunity to build the local workforce.”
Individualized vocational training is offered by the nonprofit to lift up people who have had difficulty breaking into the job market. Individuals learn soft skills, such as customer service, phone skills, and timeliness. They also learn technical skills, including point-of-sale systems, how to conduct inventory, and small engine repair. Vocational training is a Medicaid covered benefit for individuals experiencing substance use issues or a mental health challenge.
Social enterprises are gaining in popularity as commercial businesses with a social purpose. Southeast Colorado has many thrift stores that operate as social enterprises, providing jobs for individuals with disabilities or selling handcrafted items from developing countries. Southeast Health Group also owns and operates T-Shirt Palace in Rocky Ford as a social enterprise and vocational training project. All the profits from a social enterprise business are returned to the parent nonprofit organization to benefit its mission.
“You can feel good about bringing your lawnmower or chainsaw in for service at Fuller’s,” said Carrica. “Not only does it save you a trip out of town, but it helps people from our community gain skills, improve their lives, and feel like a part of the community.”
Fuller Engine Service is a Stihl, Toro, Honda Engine, and Interstate Battery dealership, specializing in sales, service and repair of lawn mowers, trimmers, chain saws, pole saws and more. To make an appointment for service or repair, call Fuller Engine Service at 384-4689, or stop by 214 Ash Avenue in La Junta. For information about vocational training services, call David Eckhart at Southeast Health Group at 800-511-5446.