PRATT — Since opening the doors of Creative Restorations in Pratt on Oct. 12, business partners Lisa and Billy Rawlings and Bryan Van Campen have made it a goal to prove that it is possible for a small business to make a big difference.
The business of Creative Restorations at 1807 East First Street is to create custom apparel, but the goal these business partners have set for themselves is to provide opportunities for persons with disabilities.
“We believe that everyone is created with a purpose and we stand firm in helping those with disabilities, either by supporting and contributing to their cause or by employing people with disabilities,” Lisa Rawlings said.
Both Lisa and Billy have full-time jobs. She is the music teacher at Southwest Elementary and he is a sales manager at Sebes Hay in Larned. Day-to-day operations at Creative Restorations are handled by manager Amanda Petz.
“I see our work as restoring hope to God’s creations, one person at a time,” Petz said.
Petz said the store’s customized apparel and home décor items are created by vinyl sublimation and embroidery.
Some of the items they personalize for customers include T-shirts, hoodies, duffle bags and hats, along with a variety of miscellaneous items like wooden signs with encouraging mottos. Personalized car decals and jewelry are also available.
“It’s not just about selling a shirt to make a buck, it’s about creating opportunities for people with disabilities,” Petz said.
Creative Restorations is partnering with Skyline USD 438 for students in Life Skill classes to be involved at Creative Restorations.
“The students make jewelry, press shirts, sort clothes and help in other ways,” Petz said. “They are important to our business.”
Petz said the business is currently working to finalize plans to partner with Arrowhead West, Inc., creating a Life Skills program to employ their clients.
Another aspect of the new business is to monthly donate a portion of the store profits to a local organization, Lisa Rawlings said. Their first October donation went to Up with Downs, an organization that supports families affected by Down Syndrome.
The partnership between the Rawlings and Van Campen families started several years ago through their Southern Baptist Church affiliation in Pratt.
“Creative Restorations came about by my family trying to help Bryan’s family,” Rawlings said. “Bryan has cerebral palsy and his wife has multiple sclerosis.”
Rawlings started making items at home for family members, using a vinyl sublimation press she received for Christmas and began posting them on Facebook.
“People asked, ‘Can you make one for me?’” Lisa said. “And that’s how it all really got started.”
The business now has a Facebook presence and a website www.creativerestorations.net for online shopping.
Store hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays.
The store is normally closed on Sundays, but Creative Restorations is a member of the Pratt Area Chamber of Commerce and will host a Jingle & Mingle Open House from 1-5 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 24.
“We invite area residents to come and visit our store this coming Sunday and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate,” Petz said.
Creative Restorations is located a block south of U-54 highway junction with K-61 highway.