Katy Blakey

Founder Behind Hugs Cafe Launches New Project To Employ Those With Special Needs

A couple of acres on McKinney's north side will soon be home to Hugs Greenhouse - a place where those with special needs can run a nursery open to the public.

The idea is the latest dream by Ruth Thompson, the founder of the successful Hugs Cafe in downtown McKinney. The non-profit restaurant opened three years ago and employs those living with special needs.

"We were full at the cafe. We had no more jobs to offer and I decided 'why don't we open a greenhouse and grow flowers?,'" said Thompson.

Except Thompson had no idea how to run a greenhouse until several generous volunteers came forward.

Retired grower Bill Crump offered the know-how.

"I think it’s going to be really exciting to see what happens in this place," said Crump. "They'll do more for me than I'll do for them, that's the way I look at it."

Dallas Underground offered to install the utilities and the Shelton family donated their land.

"It's strange how that works," said David Shelton. "There's a higher hand in it."

"Human nature is so much better than the stories we see. People want to do good. People want to help others," said Thompson.

With her first two dreams now a reality, Thompson is already thinking of other ways she can further her mission to employ more people with special needs.

"My husband has asked if I could stop dreaming, but no -- I hope [to continue.]," laughed Thompson.

Hugs Greenhouse hopes to be open in the fall of 2018 and will train and employ around 20 people to start.

Learn more about their mission by clicking here.

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