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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Local business vies for prize to create jobs

(Feb. 16, 2017) When Kim Shanahan, owner of Gifts Fulfilled, saw the theme of this year’s SCORE/Sam’s Club small business contest, “What Makes Your Business Unique,” she knew she had to enter. What makes her business unique is its mission to provide jobs for people with disabilities.
Shanahan created her business, which sells baby, birthday, get well and special occasion gift baskets, specifically to provide employment for adults who live with a disability. She saw a great need for jobs, and decided to start a business that would enable people of differing abilities the opportunity to have a fulfilling work experience and earn a paycheck. In the social service field this is called an Affirmative Business or a Social Enterprise. To Shanahan, it was simply the right thing to do.
Shanahan started her business in 2015 and shortly after teamed up with the Worcester County Developmental Center in Newark, Maryland, to provide employment for WCDC clients.
“I first started thinking about employing disabled adults about six years ago when I was pregnant,” she said. “As a mature woman in pregnancy there are more risks, and I began to wonder how I would help my child if it were born with a disability. I realized a business could be set up in such a way as to employ disabled people, and the fire was lit in my heart to make it happen.”
Shanahan and WCDC have created a program where the clients assemble and create themed gift baskets that are then sold on Amazon and the Gifts Fulfilled website.
The story of her partnership with WCDC, and the clients who eagerly look forward to crafting baskets, has spread quickly on Facebook and has touched people across the country and from as far away as the United Kingdom. The story she submitted for entry into the contest has moved more than 4,000 people to date to vote for her business and support providing more employment for the clients of WCDC.
SCORE is a volunteer organization of retired business executives who provide guidance and training to small businesses. Every year, SCORE partners with Sam’s Club to offer this contest. The contest Shanahan entered has three grand prizes of $25,000 each as well as business mentorship from a SCORE volunteer. There are also two $1,000 prizes which will be awarded in each state. That prize also includes SCORE mentorship.
The Gifts Fulfilled story and contest entry is on the WCDC Facebook page. To vote for this enterprise and help provide more work for people with disabilities in Worcester County, go to the Worcester County Developmental Center Facebook page, look for the Gifts Fulfilled picture and link to the voting page. The link will take guests to a video that shows the clients assembling the gift baskets. Below the video is a “Vote” button. Hit that button to vote. Visitors can vote 10 times every hour to support Gifts Fulfilled. The direct link is The contest runs until Monday, Feb. 20.
If Shanahan wins, she will use the expertise and money to grow her business and employ more people with disabilities. Her goal for 2017 is to create 20 new jobs and find a permanent home for her enterprise.