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Brevard Achievement Center – Teriyaki Madness

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In June, Governor Rick Scott cut $461 million from the state budget. Programs for the disabled were among the many items on the chopping block. Like a lot of nonprofits, the Brevard Achievement Center knew they were going to have to get creative to survive.

The Rockledge-based agency has provided job training and other life-skills support to disabled adults since 1968, and they’ve seen federal and state money gradually decline. Spokeswoman Rosalind Weiss says that although 80 percent of their funding still comes from state and federal contracts, “It was time to not rely on the government as much. Our board decided they wanted to look at the commercial sector.”

They chose a somewhat unusual path to financial security – they opened a restaurant. In fact, the group bought franchise rights last year to open five Teriyaki Madness restaurants in Orange and Brevard counties. The first opened last week in the Colonial Plaza shopping center, and a Kissimmee location will open by late fall.

The restaurant serves Asian rice and noodle bowls in a Chipotle-style setup, but more important than the menu is the opportunity to support Brevard Achievement Center’s clients. Not only will profits fund the organization’s programs, their goal is for a minimum of 50 percent of the labor hours to be filled by individuals with disabilities.

As general manager Zack Zonker says, “You can come do your good deed of the day here just by eating lunch.”

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