Dan Friedman, founder (with his son Alex) and proprietor, of Special Treats in Chapel Hill’s Timberlyne Shopping Center, is a giver. When interviewed recently by Layla Khoury-Hanold for Indy Week, he was asked what it means to him to be able to help other people with disabilities, both through his shop and by supporting likeminded businesses. His answer? “It’s been one of those things when you do something to help other people in the community, and it ends up helping you.”
Clearly we humans are not all moved to cheers and action for the same reasons and by the same news. Still, we all love to be inspired and can all appreciate highlighting reasons to be cheerful. If you’re looking for more reasons to be cheerful, here’s a link you might like. In January 2018, musician and cultural epicure David Byrne launched a website called Reasons to be Cheerful. We-the-people need cheering, need cheering on, and delight in the joys of our fellow beings. We all long for love and seek fulfillment as we live. I’m reminded of a line from a 2012 “epic science fiction film” called Cloud Atlas (written and directed by the Wachowskis and Tom Twyker, and based on David Mitchell’s novel. Critics and viewers have put the film on best and worst film lists ever since, with passionate debates supporting either choice.)
“Our lives are not our own. we are bound to others, past and present. And by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future.”
The connections between us are celebrated by Special Treats. Dan Friedman and his kitchen manager, Paul Parsons, are inspired, and they inspire us with their commitment to doing what they love as they support others. The staff supports themselves and their community by doing what they love, too, as what they love is driven by their values and mission.
What are those values? Friedman envisioned a place that offers a quality learning environment, specialty treats (who doesn’t love those?), and fulfilling work for people who seek fulfilling work and for whom work may be difficult to find. As customers are asking for and appreciating more local sourcing and support, Friedman also researched and found the Hillsborough nonprofit (Piedmont Food and Agriculture Processing Center), which is an incubator for new food businesses. He and Paul Parsons accepted the opportunities that PFAP offered and created their (non-alcohol) Whiskey Crackers, which we now have on our shelves. They also offer other gourmet chocolate, biscotti, cookies, and seasonal treats from likeminded businesses around the country.
Inspiration is everywhere. Every layer of creation inspires another, as Friedman’s story illustrates, and we are excited to offer these inspired treats and the other satisfactions that result! (They also cater to a range of diets: sugar-free, vegan, and gluten-free!)