A business with a mission of giving people with special needs a place to work has grown into much more in three years.

Special Kneads Bakery opened in Galva in 2018. The store started by a mom with a son with cerebral palsy now is a destination for other families and groups with similar stories.

Frankie Cortes is one of the friendly faces at Special Kneads Bakery.

“I help greet our customers every day. I say ‘Hello, welcome to Special Kneads Bakery,’ and then tell them who I am,” said Frankie.

Margaret Cortes is Frankie’s mom and boss. She opened the bakery so Frankie could have a place to work after graduating from high school. The year 2020 was tough for them but, just like many other businesses, they found a way to stay afloat.

“We made it three years. We made it through COVID and now we can start a go forward,” said Margaret. “We did all preorders. We would have people preorder the items they wanted and pay for them in advance, and they would pick them up on a Friday or Saturday. We’d have set pick-up times.”

Since opening their doors, they’ve become a safe environment for other people with disabilities.

“Currently we have young adults coming from Knox County. They come about every two weeks and they come for field trip. We teach them a little bit about the bakery, feed them, give them some treats,” said Margaret.

The Cortes family has big goals for their bakery. Those include having the place “filled with younger adults with disabilities that would be able to take over and work in the kitchen, or do some of the prep work, or packaging or working in the front serving some ice cream,” said Margaret.

Starting in December, they’ll serve lunch on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.