SHREWSBURY – Maple & Main officially opened to the public on Nov. 3.
The store, located at 557 Main St., is the latest addition to Shrewsbury center. Maple & Main is run by Shrewsbury’s Reaching Independence through Supported Employment (RISE) Program, which, according to the program’s website, aims to provide special education students ages 18 to 22 with “the skills and experiences they need to be successful members of the local community.”
Local officials and community members — including the Select Board, School Committee, the Shrewsbury Town Center Association and families of RISE students — gathered in front of Maple & Main on Nov. 3 to officially open the store.
“I could not be more proud of the work by so many to create this wonderful program and [transform] this space into a superb educational facility that also includes what I’m sure you’ll agree is a local business that is a charming, first-class addition to our town center,” said Superintendent Joe Sawyer.
Behind Maple & Main
The School Committee first approved plans for in-district RISE programming in November 2021. The project was funded with an American Rescue Plan grant from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. An advisory board — composed of administrators, teachers, parents, students and community members – was created to help design and develop the RISE program.
With support from Chacharone Properties, RISE was able to secure 557 Main St. In October 2022, Assistant Superintendent of Student Services Meg Belsito said that the property — formerly a pharmacy building — was “ideal” for the program, noting the ample parking, prime location and access to public transportation. The building holds Maple & Main – the retail business – and plenty of additional programming space for students. The building welcomed RISE students in July 2023.
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In August, Maple & Main announced that Jennifer Tabor, who had been working with Shrewsbury Public Schools as an applied behavior analysis technician since 2018, was named the store’s retail manager.
“It’s been a busy, busy two months,” Tabor said as Maple & Main opened to the public. “There’s no way we would have been able to get ready for you all today if it weren’t for all the efforts of these students preparing for our grand opening.”
The store features Shrewsbury merchandise, candy, drinks and more.
The grand opening ceremony also included remarks and presentations from RISE students, remarks from Belsito, who was one of the project’s leaders; RISE parents and a musical performance from RISE student Marisol Santana.
Belsito and Sawyer highlighted the contributions of dozens of individuals who helped make Maple & Main possible. Patrick Collins, the recently retired assistant superintendent for finance and operations, was frequently recognized. Belsito revealed Collins had the suggestion for the name Maple & Main.
Representatives from the offices of Rep. Hannah Kane (R-Shrewsbury) and Sen. Michael Moore (D-Millbury) were in attendance to present citations to the RISE program.
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Before long, RISE students officially cut the bright-red ribbon in front of the store’s front doors, officially opening Maple & Main to the public. Community members soon flooded into the store.
“The collective work of this group, along with the support of the entire Shrewsbury community, has resulted in a new, educational program that we should all be immensely proud of. It represents the importance of equity and access to robust educational opportunities, life skills and employment options for students,” said School Committee Chair Sandra Fryc.
Visit the store’s website at https://mapleandmainshrewsbury.com/ for more information.