John Cronin, co-founder and inspiration for John’s Crazy Socks, was overjoyed at the opportunity to visit the Farm Dog Bakery in Longview, Washington. The Farm Dog Bakery makes dog treats in a beautiful commercial kitchen. Just as importantly, it provides meaningful opportunities for individuals with differing abilities to gain work experience. The dog biscuit bakery is part of larger transition programs operated by Life Works (The Arc of Cowlitz County).
John Cronin loves visiting and supporting businesses founded by or focused on people with differing abilities. After all, John is an entrepreneur and business owner who happens to have Down syndrome. John and his father and partner, Mark X. Cronin, traveled to Longview to give the keynote address at the Together We Can Conference sponsored by Life Works.
“I am so happy that I had the opportunity to visit Farm Dog Bakery,” said John Cronin. “I am so impressed by the work they do. And I bought some treats for my brother Jamie’s dog, Arlo.”
Making Delicious Dog Treats
Farm Dog Bakery operates in a bright and airy facility in the heart of Longview. Kaitlyn and Lizzy, the Life Works employees who lead the dog bakery, welcomed John and walked him through the process of making dog biscuits. They start by mixing the ingredients into dough in giant commercial mixers. They then roll out the door and large tables and use cookie cutter molds to cut the dough into biscuit shapes. Once they have the dough cut, the raw biscuits are placed in a drying oven which dries them out and hardens them into dog biscuits.
The team then takes the biscuits and measures them out in eight-ounce groupings for packaging. They pour the biscuits into a bag, add the labels and tie them off, ready for sale to customers.
“Our client works learn all aspects of the job,” said Lizzy and this work experience helps them prepare for more permanent jobs.
You can visit the Farm Dog Bakery at 1217 14th Ave in Longview, Washington or buy their products at their online store.
Speaking with Life Works
John and his partner and father, Mark X. Cronin, visited Life Works as part of a two-city speaking tour. Since 1980, Life Works/The Arc of Cowlitz County has been serving children and adults experiencing intellectual and developmental disabilities. They have grown from only providing residential services to also providing vocational, day and transition services. Lifeworks/The Arc of Cowlitz County transforms lives one at a time, providing a valuable, sensible, practical, economical and superior alternative to institutionalized care – saving taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars annually for each of the one hundred clients they serve.
On Thursday, John and Mark addressed the Be Brave, Be Bold, Be You Conference in Portland, Oregon organized by Gigi’s Playhouse of Portland and Advocates for Life Skills and Opportunities (ALSO). John and Mark then joined a roundtable discussion on employment issues.
On Friday, John and Mark spent the day at the Together We Can Conference sponsored by Life Works. They kicked off the festivities with a keynote speech and then led two breakout sessions on employment. When the conference ended, Dave Hill, the Executive Director of Life Works, escorted John and Mark for their visit to Farm Dog Bakery.
Keynote and Event Speakers
John and Mark X. Cronin are frequent speakers at conferences and corporate events. They share their entrepreneurial story of how a young man with Down syndrome together with his father created what is today the world’s largest sock store with a mission to spread happiness. Their speaking engagements bring laughter, tears and inspire people to see what is possible for each of us to achieve. They have spoken in person at events across Canada, the United States and Mexico and at virtual events around the world. They have spoken at events for Microsoft, EY, Bank of America, the Special Olympics, and the National Down Syndrome Society, among others.
Their advocacy work has seen the Cronins testify twice before Congress and speak at the United Nations on two occasions. Their work has been featured on many national news shows. They are winners of many awards including the EY Entrepreneurs of the Year. They serve on the CEO Commission for Disability Employment and the Neurodiversity at Work Business Roundtable.
John and Mark recently recorded their second TEDx Talk entitled, “Hiring People with People with Differing Abilities is Not Altruism, It Is Good Business.” That Talk is available on YouTube and the TED platform. Their first TEDx Talk entitled Differently Abled People Want to Help Us is also available on YouTube and the TED platform.
About John’s Crazy Socks
John’s Crazy Socks was inspired by John Lee Cronin, a young man with Down syndrome, and his love of colorful and fun socks—what he calls his “crazy socks.” He and his father, Mark X. Cronin, started the company as a social enterprise with a mission of Spreading Happiness™. With more than 4,000 socks, John’s Crazy Socks is now the world’s largest sock store. More than half their employees have a differing ability, and their Giving Back program has raised over $625,000 for charity partners like the Special Olympics, the National Down Syndrome Society, and the Autism Society of America. Most of all, they are Spreading Happiness™.
For more information about John’s Crazy Socks, visit our webpage, Facebook page, Instagram account, TikTok or YouTube channel. You can also contact us at 631-760-5625 or via email at email@example.com.