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The Student News Website of Francis Howell North High School.

FHNtoday.com

The Student News Website of Francis Howell North High School.
The Collector Store

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The Collector Store

Yadi’s Yummies Helps More Than Just Pets, It Offers Employment and Community

The excitement felt by Jessica Eisenbeis when opening her business and being featured by CNN was one that few can relate to, let alone an individual who was deemed ‘unemployable’. Jessica’s struggle is one many individuals with mental disabilities and handicaps struggle with, as they are often deemed ‘unemployable’ by the state. However, Jessica took matters into her own hands and turned a passion of making dog and cat treats into Yadi’s Yummies. 

“I love it,” Jessica said.

From her teenage years, Jessica struggled to find employment. She was born with a rare genetic syndrome called Rubinstein Taybi Syndrome which affects learning capabilities. She dealt with numerous employers who were unable or unwilling to adapt to her needs.

“She was having trouble finding a place where she felt that she was valued and respected,” Jessica’s mom Cindy Eisenbeis said. “She ended up starting to make dog treats with one of her old high school teachers and when they started going to craft fairs and stuff like that, we had adopted a dog from a local rescue. That got us involved with the rescue community. She wanted to have a place where she could work and where she could have other people work who also were having trouble finding a place. Some of the people that volunteer here are people that [Jessica] had gone to school with and some people that she didn’t know, but just seeing how Jessica and they have blossomed since they’ve been here is amazing.” 

Jessica, with the help of Cindy, secured the storefront location at 1251 Jungermann Road. They decided to name their business Yadi’s Yummies after their own rescue dog Yadi, a nod to the famous Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina. The store sells a plethora of unique pet treats for dogs and cats including ice cream, dog beer and ‘pupcakes.’ They also sell toys, gifts and other pet memorabilia. 

“Some of the people that volunteer here are people that [Jessica] had gone to school with and some people that she didn’t know, but just seeing how Jessica and they have blossomed since they’ve been here is amazing,” Cindy said. 

Soon after the business opened, they received lots of media attention from many news outlets highlighting the store’s equality and individuality. It’s not only helped the store grow, but helped the workers grow as well.

 “We just had Show Me St. Louis in here,” Cindy said,  “And one of the individuals who used to go and hide when there was anything like that was going on, he was actually interviewed on TV. So, I would say it gives people confidence and they feel valued.”

Part of Jessica’s mission was to offer other people with similar disabilities a chance to work in a respectful and encouraging environment. Danni Fine is an original member of the team at Yadi’s Yummies as well as an FHN alumna. Danni was born with Down syndrome and, like Jessica, struggled to find employment that suited her needs. 

“Everybody here is so supportive and she learns skills that she never would have learned anywhere else,” Danni’s mom Elecia Fine said. “She can bake, she can decorate, she can do all kinds of new skills so I was on board from the very beginning.”

Danni’s day consists of baking treats, decorating them, and her favorite job; labeling. Danni also gets to participate in the many events that Yadi’s Yummies attends. She often helps to encourage local businesses to donate and persuades them with her sales pitch.

“Hello, my name is Danni. I work at Yadi’s Yummies. I ask ‘Do you have a pet and if it’s a dog or cat?’ And then I offer them a treat from the bag,” Danni said. 

Danni, Jessica and the numerous other volunteers at Yadi’s Yummies enjoy the sense of community that the store offers. 

“All of the young people who work there advocate for each other,” Elecia said. “I think Jessica is  excited to have a friend. They’ve opened up to lots of other young people with disabilities and it helps [more people get] employed here.”

Besides baking treats for pets, Yadi’s Yummies also partners with local animal shelters to promote adoptions in the area. In addition, they hold adoption events and donate to provide medical care for pets in need. 

“We had another dog, a Newfoundland, and she went through a period of time where she had to have three major surgeries within a 10-month period, which cost close to $10,000,” Cindy said. “That showed us how expensive it can be. So, we started Annie’s fund, and we donate a portion of our proceeds to a medical fund to help dogs and shelters be able to afford surgeries and stuff like that that they might not have otherwise.”

Yadi’s Yummies participates in many local events including the Summer Sunset Market in Wentzville on Oct. 12 from 5-8 p.m. They will also be participating at the Lake St. Louis Farmers and Artist’s Market at the Meadows on Oct. 15 from 8 a.m to noon. They even have a party room at their store to hold pet birthday parties as well as Gotcha Day celebrations. 

“It’s opened [Danni’s] world,” Elecia said. “She loves the animals. She has friends. She gets out in the community. She loves to go ask for donations. She gets to go meet people, it’s just opened her world.”

Jessica and her dream have been able to open the world up to her volunteers who have struggled to feel accepted in the American workplace. Yadi’s Yummies offers a refuge for not just pets and patrons, but for its volunteers who can feel a sense of belonging.

“Well, I am very happy,” Jessica said. “Everyone is very, very nice to me.”

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