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One of the most commonly heard comments from customers who visit Classic Fireplaces on Archibald Street is how clean the family-owned business is.

That’s gratifying for Jared, who handles most of the cleaning duties at the St. Boniface-based business his parents Helen and Pete have owned for the past 25 years. Not only is Jared responsible for vacuuming the showroom and dusting the many fireplaces and barbecues on display, he also cleans the storeroom and takes care of duties such as shredding documents.

“It makes me feel pretty good,” Jared says of the comments from customers. “I don’t know why, it just does.”

Such comments make his parents feel pretty good too.

“Oh yes. Jared gets compliments all the time. Our customers comment a lot on how clean the store is,” says his mom Helen. “He’s very versatile and dependable and takes pride in his work. He’s such an integral part of making everything here function.”

Jared began working at the business following graduation, soon after it first opened its doors to customers. He’s missed only a handful of days during that time and has been one of the business’s hardest working and most dedicated employees.

“I like my job,” Jared says. “I like doing the cleaning. (And) I like working with my parents.”

As important as Jared’s contribution to the business is, his mom says it might not be possible without the support of Epic Opportunities.

Jared has been supported by Epic Opportunities since its early days when it was known as Hope Centre. A big part of that support is the assistance he receives from a disability support worker (DSW) who accompanies Jared to and from work and is there to answer any questions he may have as well as provide him with instruction and feedback when necessary.

“It’s unbelievable,” Helen says when asked about the support Epic Opportunities provides Jared at work.

“Without their assistance we could not do this. We simply wouldn’t be able to look after our customers and support Jared to perform his duties. For the most part he does his duties on his own. But the Epic staff are there to support him with anything he needs. They really help to keep him focused on his duties and help to facilitate what he does.”

Richard Charpentier, one of the DSWs who works with Jared on behalf of Epic Opportunities, says his role is to be a resource for Jared and just let him know he’s there for him when needed.

“I’m there to provide that support he needs,” he explains. “Jared is successful. He knows I’m here if needed. He knows what he needs to do and it comes second nature to him.”

In addition to the assistance he receives at work, Epic Opportunities also provides Jared with support for numerous other activities in the community. A golf enthusiast, he often visits The Golf Dome to play mini golf with family or friends. He’s also a fan of bowling and frequently racks up spares and strikes at local alleys.

When he’s not busy with work or sports, Jared can often be found giving back to the community. He volunteers regularly with Meals on Wheels and continued to help deliver meals even during the coronavirus pandemic. He also lends his support to Archwood Community Club where he often helps out with luncheons the centre hosts.

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