HOUSTON – If you're looking for gifts and want to support a local business, there's a unique gift shop in town with a heartwarming story behind it.
But even more unique than the shop is the bond between the owners of that shop -- a mom and her high school-age daughter with special needs.
Valerie and Ellie Cassady opened Pepperlou Gifts almost a year and half ago, a dream they had for years.
“Ellie goes to Stratford High School, she’s in the life skills program there, so we knew that college was not quite the right fit for Ellie, and she’s cool with that. She has 2 brothers that are in college. But she is thrilled that we started Pepperlou just for her so that she has something to look forward to after she graduates and just feels a part of something, and she can continue to learn and to grow,” said Valerie Cassady, who hopes to extend this mission of independence to more kids and young adults like Ellie.
“We’re hopeful that if Pepperlou continues to grow, we can have other children like Ellie here working as well,” said Cassady, who told us about one of the most important parts of the store, Ellie’s Corner.
“I love my corner, it’s all my stuff in my corner,” said Ellie, who loves “selling candles and meeting the customers,” she said.
“Ellie’s corner is special to Ellie. It’s a lot of the items that she picks herself, so they’re kind of more the fun items in the store. She has all the fun things over there, where teens and tweens can get birthday gifts for their friends. We’ve got items for smaller kids as well,” said Cassady, who previously owned a design studio and curates most of the items of the store and loves to support other small businesses in Houston and around the country.
These entrepreneurs love to give back to the community, specially in difficult times like the ones we’re living in.
“The rest of the month of May, we’re giving back to Camp Blessings, which is a camp that Ellie attended last summer, and she loved, and unfortunately, she can’t go this summer because of the virus. They’re in need of donations right now, so Ellie and I decided to give back,” said Cassady.
For more information about Pepperlou Gifts, click here.
And to see the complete interview, watch the video above.