With the help of Catholic Charities Bureau (CCB), Taylor County Achievement Center (TCAC) opens its doors to fifteen participants of its Day Services Program. It shares quarters with the Happy Americans’ Club, the county’s first senior citizens’ center. Taylor County Human Services is the primary funding source.
Eastwood Group Home opens, and eight developmentally disabled residents move in. This is the start of our residential programming.
TCAC begins offering “simulated work” projects to clients. Work primarily comes from Hurd Mfg. and Phillips Plastics. This is the beginning of what has become our current Work Services (Production) Department.
TCAC moves into the former IGA building on Highway 13. Custodial Training Program starts.
The first supported employment participant is placed in a job at Burger Chef (now Happy Joe’s Restaurant).
First work crews begin operations cleaning offices, floor care, carpet/upholstery cleaning, and snow removal.
Supported Apartment Program begins with several clients living independently in the community. TCAC receives initial contracts with the Taylor County Commission on Aging (COA) for Elderly Transportation, food preparation and delivery (congregate and meals-on-wheels). Food Service Industries (FSI) begins operations with fully licensed commercial kitchen.
TCAC gets state grant to set up a prime manufacturing project utilizing client labor to make redwood lawn furniture. The name Black River Industries is attached to the project, marking the first time it is used. The project lasts three years.
TCAC formally incorporates as Black River Industries, Inc. (BRI), and forms its first Board of Directors.
BRI receives the first of many accessible passenger vehicles from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WIS-DOT). The fleet will grow from three vans to the current twelve buses with annual additions of new vehicles to the fleet by accessing WIS-DOT’s competitive grant program.
CCB opens Maywood Apartments for developmentally disabled residents. Its six apartments immediately fill up, incorporating some former residents of Eastwood Group Home.
With the help of Taylor County, CCB acquires HUD grant funding and opens a new building for BRI with double the space (16,500 sq. ft.) of the old building.
Commercial and residential lawn crews begin work. BRI celebrates its 15th anniversary.
Major marketing campaign in the manufacturing community results in significant work contracts over the next eleven years. Companies subcontracting with BRI include Phillips Plastics, Hurd Mfg., Colby Metal, Weather Shield Mfg., and Fiskars. Nearly all clients begin receiving paychecks. Also during this year, BRI receives a grant from the state of Wisconsin to begin placing clients in community based employment, and the Supported Employment Program begins. BRI receives its first contract with the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation to find jobs for people with disabilities.
BRI secures its first RAM (Roadside Area Maintenance) contract with RFW (Rehabilitation For Wisconsin) to maintain three county waysides and the state’s first Rustic Roads monument for WIS-DOT.
BRI begins bulk mailing operations. Total work contracts outgrow the building, and crews now begin work in two other buildings in Stetsonville and Medford. Warehouse space is also rented in another building in Medford.
Eastwood Group Home closes as residential emphasis shifts to independent living.
FSI is now producing nearly 80,000 meals a year for other non-profits and the COA.
BRI celebrates 25th anniversary; Board of Directors starts considering moving to a larger building.
BRI starts a capitol fundraising drive and secures a loan through TDS Telecom and USDA-Rural Development to build a new building. A site is chosen in the new industrial park west of Medford, and a planning committee is formed to oversee construction of the new 30,000 square foot building.
Operations are completely consolidated and shifted to our current building.
CCB purchases Del Rae Courts Apartments for disabled and elderly residents, and re-names it Eastwood Apartments. Several BRI clients move in.
BRI celebrates 30th anniversary, Memorial park is built behind building.
BRI holds its first annual fundraising golf tournament.
State Use Contract is secured with the Wisconsin Department of Corrections to sew officers’ shirts and jackets. Three other State Use Contracts are secured with the Department of Military Affairs to perform custodial and lawn care at the Medford and Abbotsford armories.
BRI starts a confidential document shredding operation, and holds its first annual fundraising drive.
BRI celebrates its 35th anniversary.
Significant energy efficient building improvements are made, including HVAC upgrades and new steel siding. A new walk-in cooler/freezer is installed in FSI’s commercial kitchen. The USDA loan is paid off, and BRI now owns its building.
BRI adds a 4,500 square foot recreational park to the south side of its building.