This past week, John Cronin and his father and co-founder, Mark X. Cronin, gave a virtual tour and presentation to the Beacons organization in Carlsbad, California. The father-son team met with students from the Entrepreneurial Class in the Pathfinder Program.
“I loved talking with the students in the Pathfinder Program especially because they want to be entrepreneurs,” said John Cronin. “I am an entrepreneur and we want the world to know that people with differing abilities can be entrepreneurs.”
John Cronin has Down syndrome yet that did not prevent him from starting his own business and growing John’s Crazy Socks into the world’s largest sock store.
Tyler Hershey, the Director the Pathfinder Program, wrote, “Thank you for speaking last week to our Beacons crew in Carlsbad! We absolutely loved getting to learn more about the business and how it started. Our trainees keep talking about how fun it was!”
Spreading Happiness through In-Person and Virtual Tours
At John’s Crazy Socks, we are on a mission to spread happiness. A key component of that work is showing what people with differing abilities can do. As part of that effort, we offer tours to high schools and social service agencies. We host in-person tours in our warehouse and over 2,000 visitors have taken that tour. We also offer virtual tours, which is how we met with the Pathfinder Program from Beacons.
“Not everyone can travel to our offices,” said John, “but through Zoom and Microsoft Teams, we have met with students from around the world.”
The Pathfinder Program at Beacons
Beacons has a mission to empower adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to achieve their vision of success, with purpose and joy, to the best of their ability. As John would say, they are “with us, not for us. “
Beacons is the brainchild of parents who recognized that more post-secondary options were needed in North County San Diego to serve individuals with developmental disabilities. They created Beacons, which is a California 501(c)(3) nonprofit public benefit corporation. Beacons opened its doors in November 2018 to provide meaningful options created by those who "live" the journey and recognize the need for better outcomes for their loved ones.
Pathfinder is a "hands-on, learn-by-experience" (and fun!) type of place. The Pathfinder Program offers vocational workshops that are curriculum supported, assistive technology rich, progress monitored and outcome driven.
Why John’s Crazy Socks Gives Tours
Mark X. Cronin, John’s co-founder and father, said, “We invite visitors for tours so they can gain an understanding of what it's like to work in a business that employs people with differing abilities. Our guests meet our employees, learn about our business and witness first-hand how the company operates.”
“The tours are a very important part of our business,” Mark said. “It is important for students to see people like themselves working and holding down jobs.
Touring John’s Crazy Socks
We want our tours to be fun, informative and to offer encouragement to our visitors. The tours consist of several components:
- John welcomes guests and gets everyone settled
- John shows a brief introductory video
- John takes the group on a tour of the warehouse and demonstrates how we pick and pack orders
- John then shows Sock Guys, a ten-minute documentary short about John’s Crazy Socks that has won awards at film festivals
- John and Mark, John’s father and co-founder discuss how they started the business and answer questions from the group
- John gathers everyone round for photographs
John also gives a thank you gift to everyone who comes on the tour so everyone leaves with a present and a smile.
Who Should Attend the Tours?
The tours are open to:
- Social Service Agencies
- Advocacy groups
- Boy and Girl Scout Organizations
- Parent and Family Organizations
Our experience has found that our tours benefit high school students and above, though we have had some success with junior high school classes. You will need to determine if your students will benefit from the tour program we defined.
The tours are not limited to special education classes. The Tours will work well for business classes, entrepreneur classes, and clubs and other classes or clubs interested in business.
Our experience finds that we cannot manage more than ten students per physical visit, though virtual tours can accommodate any size class. We are wheelchair accessible.
We will take photographs and videos, so you must have authorization allowing us to use the student images.
There is no charge for the John’s Crazy Socks Tour. (Free is good.) No one will go home empty-handed. As a thank you gift, we will give each student a Gift Bag with a pair of socks, candy, discount cards, and information.
Scheduling a Tour of John’s Crazy Socks
We host school tours on Mondays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. We must receive a Media Release for each participant prior to the tour. To start the process, please send an email to email@example.com. We will then contact you to follow up and schedule your tour. You can also receive more information at the tour page at our website.
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 $650,000 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.