By Heather Collins
No Label at the Table plans to soon open its first storefront in the Carmel Arts & Design District. The food company, which employs people on the autism spectrum, expects to move into 111 W. Main St., Suite 145, although an opening date has not been set.
Founders Shelly Henley and Jeff Wittman started No Label at the Table to help make their autistic son’s dreams of becoming a chef a reality and offer other people with autism an opportunity for meaningful work.
Henley said her son, Jacob, 21, wasn’t verbal enough to make it through a job interview and would likely be relegated to dishwashing position. Like all parents, Henley said she wanted her son to grow up happy and fulfilled.
“He has an incredible palate, and like most people on the spectrum, amazing detail and process skills,” Henley said. “A dishwashing position would be a waste of his potential and most likely a disaster.”
Henley said with a lot of hope and hustle, she and Wittman set out to launch No Label at the Table Food Co., a scalable social enterprise where employees are responsible for the company’s growth, earn a wage and have their work valued.
The new shop will offer gluten- and dairy-free baked goods as well as Circle City Kombucha and Harvest Café Coffee & Tea. Henley described the space as a small, old-fashioned mom and pop bakery.
Henley said the shop would not have been possible without the help of the Carmel City Center Community Development Corporation, which helped to secure the space, and Trace Construction and The Giving Hope Foundation, who are helping with the build out of the shop.
No Label at the Table offers bakery items at the Carmel, Fishers and Brownsburg farmers markets as well as online at marketwagon.com.
“Our goal was always to grow a thriving business, employing only people with autism,” Henley said. “We strive to provide meaningful employment, a feeling of accomplishment and belonging to our employees. Now, we hope to be a bright example of inclusion and diversity in the Arts & Design District, where we can inspire the other communities to change their perceptions of the capabilities of people with autism. We hope to motivate others to provide similar opportunities and provide hope to other parents of individuals with autism.”
The company has 13 employees and wants to hire seven additional workers. The shop will have an art gallery featuring artists on the autism spectrum.
For more, visit nolabelatthetable.com.