Tablespoons Bakery – which offers vocational training for people with intellectual disabilities – is now open in Westover Hills | To eat
With an emphatically warm welcome, Kemani Turton-Jones waited patiently behind the Tablespoons Bakery counter one recent morning before asking, “What exactly would you like to buy?”
He highlighted a few of the daily specials: craggy blueberry muffins, icing-filled cinnamon sandwich cookies, and a bakery favorite – unicorn cookies, which are party-dusted sugar cookies. Christmas music playing in the background. During the calm lulls when there were no customers in the cheerful space, he sang – and he knew every word.
Tablespoons, at 1707 Westover Hills Blvd., opened on November 10 in a former 1930s rectory of Westover Hills United Methodist Church. The bakery is part of the Next Move program, a nearly 10-year non-profit organization that provides vocational training and internship opportunities for young adults with autism and developmental disabilities.
The bakery sells a variety of Ironclad Coffee Roasters cookies and coffee during the week – it’s open Tuesday through Friday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturdays 8 a.m. to noon – although much of its business comes from catering and corporate orders; and the increasingly popular monthly cookie club memberships.
Elizabeth Redford, a former Chesterfield County special needs teacher, and her colleague, retired special needs teacher Mary Townley, founded Next Move – and later, Tablespoons. In 2012, the two were asked to create an inclusive professional training and internship program for the former Richmond-based health diagnostic lab, in which they would work with high school students with special needs to teach them training. on the job for HDL as part of secondary school education.