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Bakery employs adults with special 'kneads'

At Special Kneads & Treats in Lawrenceville, most of the employees have special needs.
Special Kneads has already become a huge success.

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. -- A bakery in downtown Lawrenceville has gained a cult following in the six months it's been open.

"The cupcakes are just fantastic. They're divine," one customer said.

But the little bakery is also getting noticed for what it's doing that is unlike any other similar business -- and a hint can be found in the name. Most of the employees at Special Kneads & Treats have special needs.

Owners Tempa and Mike Kohler opened the bakery for their son Bradley, who had aged out of the system and couldn't find anyone else to give him a chance to work.

Special Kneads is a non-profit. Tempa and Mike said their employees are not charity cases, but are a critical part of why the bakery is in the black only half a year after opening.

"They do a lot of the jobs people don't think about and don't want to do -- sitting and stickering cupcakes for three hours. Most of our teens and even us would get a little bored with that. Our special needs people, they need that repetition. They love that," Mike Kohler said.

Payday is definitely the best day at Special Kneads.

"Payday is a very exciting day around here. They love to get their paychecks," Mike Kohler said.

It's clear that a couple searching to give their son's adult life meaning, have given it to other special needs adults and their families.

"I love to see him blossom and understand what it is to work with other people, because he's never understood what a friend is, that concept just never occurred to him," Tempa Kohler said.

The bakery carries a sense of community and belonging, which is the sweetest reward of all.