Earlier this year, Randall and Tina Sutyla opened a Bay View children's store, Heavenly Kidzz, and stocked it with new and used clothing, toys, cloth diapers, maternity wear and other kid-related items. But even though their shop is filled with toys and there's a decorated Christmas tree in the window, the family's story is the true gift of the season.
One of the reasons why Randall and Tina originally opened the shop is because their 9-year-old daughter, Isabella, has autism and consequently is non-verbal and not toilet learned. To get cloth diapers large enough, the couple had to travel beyond the city or buy them via the Internet, so they wanted to start a business that offered non-disposable diapers for older children.
The couple has a 16-year-old son, Randy, as well as a second daughter, Leah, who suffers from Crohn's Disease.
"It's tough having two disabled kids," says Randall. "But it's really strengthened us as a family. Tina and I have been together for 20 years, married for 10. A lot of couples don't make it through something like this, but somehow, we beat the odds."
Although Randall has other jobs, the family's primary focus is Heavenly Kidzz and they spend a lot of time there. They created a special space in the back of the shop for Isabella, where she can find solace and work with her therapist.
Everyone helps out however they can, from restocking to chatting with customers to just making sure the toys are "playable." Randy Jr. designed the signage and handles all of the Internet activity.
"We all work together on this," says Randall. "We have a lot of hopes for the future with this place."
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