By Amelia Masbruch
SmoothToe Socks is a compression sock business on Highway 44 in Caledonia and a relatively new partner of ABC. Owner Greg Hoscheit has given Travis Gordon, an ABC participant, a new perspective on life. Greg and Travis have formed a relationship that goes beyond the normal constructs of employer and employee.
SmoothToe’s socks boast of the ability to improve circulation and improve lives in a variety of ways, from helping feet refresh and recover after a workout to helping medical conditions in more ways than you could imagine, including diabetes, varicose veins, tendonitis and restless legs. They have received the recommendation of doctors and the support of 14 NFL teams. Travis’ newfound love for his work has made him so enthusiastic about the product that he has spread the word to his community!
Greg is just as appreciative of the help Travis has brought him. As Greg says, “It’s a win-win situation.” He has described his relationship with Travis as a mentor and treats Travis as he would treat a son. Travis has truly been included in the company, and Greg has even gone so far as to give Travis his own business cards, include him in staff meetings and let him drive the company car, a fact that is very exciting to Travis.
“Greg has given Travis a chance at viable work in the community and is a classic example of inclusion in Houston County. He treats Travis with respect and dignity, allowing him to take on responsibility and fully contribute to the workforce,” writes Sheila Heberlein, program coordinator at ABC Works and coordinator of Travis Gordon.
Travis Gordon, a participant at ABC since May of 2005, loves the variety in this job. “I really love it here,” he says, “This is one of the best jobs I’ve ever had.” Travis also has a passion for music, sports and the outdoors.
Greg likes to touch base with Travis every day to make sure that Travis is comfortable and confident in what he is doing. Greg wants Travis to feel that he is an important part of the SmoothToe Sock team, and Travis wants to prove himself to Greg and to his community, and to become a productive part of ABC. Travis and Greg have become so close that Travis has even asked for Greg’s help in a woodworking project.
Heberlein has spoken of the pride Travis has in his work, saying, “He walks around a foot taller.”
As Heberlein says, “It’s important for us to recognize when employees go the extra mile to give our workers opportunities for not only a job, but a true sense of belonging and of contributing to the workforce.”