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Your Chicago: Seguin Gardens And Gifts

CBS 2's Rob Johnson talks with one of the employees at Seguin Garden and Gifts Center. (CBS)

CBS 2’s Rob Johnson talks with one of the employees at Seguin Garden and Gifts Center. (CBS)

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CICERO, Ill. (CBS) — This is the time of year when nurseries and garden centers segue to more holiday-themed items like poinsettias and wreaths.

Seguin Gardens and Gifts in Cicero is far more than your ordinary plant shop.

What makes it so special is that it’s staffed primarily with special-needs adults.

Seguin Services has been providing education, living, and job opportunities in the Chicago area for decades. They even have an auto center and car wash. But it’s the 2 ½-year-old garden center that is truly thriving.

What they do here is to teach these adults with disabilities a vocation — horticulture. It’s a skill they can use the rest of their lives.

“It was something that they liked to do, so their knowledge base has just expanded, in some cases well beyond what we expected,” Julie Lerch, who oversees Seguin Gardens and Gifts, tells CBS 2’s Rob Johnson.

With the Christmas gift rush upon them, the center has briefly walked away from the hydrangeas, begonias, and geraniums to instead craft ornate metal wreaths, stock the shelves with poinsettias and make beaded jewelry.

Seguin Gardens and Gifts made nearly $150,000 last year, exceeding the center’s goal by 40 percent.

Your Chicago with Rob & Kate

Your Chicago with Rob & Kate

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