POPLAR GROVE, Ill. (WTVO) — Elijah and Malachi share the same school, house, and even the same Down syndrome diagnosis, but they are far from alike.
The two brothers were adopted into Erin Horton’s home as babies, and 12 years later, they’re business partners.
“We’ve always wanted the kids to have their own business,” Horton said. “We thought it would be a great opportunity to learn skills not taught in a classroom.”
The boys now co-own “Two Fresh Brothers,” which makes and sells air fresheners.
“It’s exciting to see them have something that’s theirs and make money and put money away,” Horton said.
The brothers work hard for their paycheck, measuring and pouring ingredients, and even signing thank you cards for eager customers.
“I remember when we told Elijah he had a paycheck and that people bought what he made, he wanted a Cheesy Beef from Arby’s. That was his jam,” said Horton.
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Horton says it takes a village to make the products. They sold out of the “Freshies” within an hour of their first Facebook post.
“You work so hard…you pour everything into what they’re doing, and to see them doing things on their own, it’s a pat on the back,” she said. “We want them to have the choice to do what they want. They may do things different, but they’re normal human beings who liked to be loved and have fun.”