Ergon Inc. is one of my favourite places to shop! It’s nestled on the corner of Traynor and Trites in Riverview. Make sure you bring cash because they don’t take debit or credit card. Since it’s a not for profit agency, every penny counts. Thanks to Executive Director Cory Thibodeau for answering my questions and giving us the story of Ergon Inc.
What is the history of Ergon Inc?
Ergon Inc was founded in April of 1985 under the name Vocational Alternatives Vocationnelles Inc (VAVI). VAVI was founded as part of Alternative Residences Alternatives Inc. The primary purpose of VAVI was to provide a rehabilitation environment for adults living with a mental health diagnosis. The program was designed to integrate rehabilitation with vocational placement.
In 1992 Vocational Alternatives Vocationnelles Inc separated from ARA Inc and was incorporated as Ergon and became licensed under the Adult Developmental Activities, Programs and Training (A.D.A.P.T) program through the Department of Family and Community Services to provide a supported employment program. In the same year, Ergon Inc opened its thrift store, which has been used as the conduit to provide the employment training program. During the same year, Ergon Inc was successful in expanding its vocational program by being awarded a government contract for mail and photocopy services. Ergon Inc has held that contract for the last 27 years. This contract employs 1 support work trainer and facilitates employment training for 10 trainees.
In 2014 the Executive Director along with the Board of Directors decided to purchase the facility at 145 Traynor St and turn it into a joint retail and programming space.
In October of 2018 Ergon Inc was awarded a contract through the Mental Health and Addiction Services division of the Department of Health. This contract was for the provision of life skills and therapeutic activity services to clientele being referred by the Community Mental Health Clinic. This contract was the basis for the development of the Ergon Inc Life Center. The aim of the Life Center is to provide our clients with our M.I.N.D. (Moving in New Directions) program, A.D.A.P.T. program and eventually our Ergon Works program, which will aim to provide clientele with skills needed for community-based employment.
What is your role/position?
How did you become involved?
I was hired in the position of Executive Director in Nov 2017.
What is the mission of Ergon Inc?
Ergon Inc strives to create an environment that is therapeutic in nature and to provide participants with the tools and space to explore their interests, passions, strengths, weaknesses and social relationships. The supportive and welcoming team uses a client-centred approach to help meet the participant’s needs.
What is the one thing that you would really like the public to know about Ergon Inc?
100% of the profits earned by the Ergon Inc Thrift Store goes towards the provision of mental health programs.
Is there anything you would like to add?
The Ergon Inc thrift store is widely known for being extremely clean and well organized. All clothing is sorted and steamed prior to being hung and placed on the floor. Each item is inspected for quality and only the pieces that are undamaged and unstained are placed on the racks. Clothing that Ergon Inc is unable to sell is donated to the Canadian Diabetes Association.
The thrift store operates largely on community donations. We accept donations of adult clothing and small household objects. Donations can be made to the thrift store between Monday and Saturday from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm. Donations can also be made to our donation bins, located on the side of our building, at any time of the day or night.
Many thanks to Cory for sharing the great work that is done at Ergon Inc. You can find them on Facebook here.