The Washburn County Day Development Center (name changed to Ventures Unlimited, Inc., July 1987) was established in April 1969 by a group of concerned parents and citizens wanting to provide activities for their children with disabilities. The center was housed in the basement of a community church and clients participated in activities such as coloring and crafts.
1983 marked the year that the program moved into a building in Spooner and clients began vocational training and activities programming.
Ventures recognized a need for a re-sale Thrift Shoppe in the community, so in 1990 Ventures opened the Unique Boutique. The site has provided valuable work for people with disabilities as well as provide a place for individuals to buy quality clothing at a reasonable price.
Due to the growth of Ventures, in 1990 the Day Services program moved to the Shell Lake Industrial Park while the vocational activities continued in Spooner. In 1996 the entire group moved to the Industrial Park in Shell Lake.
In 1998, a nearly 10,000 square foot building was built. Ventures moved in and we still occupy this building today.
In 2000, Ventures purchased a business, Just for the Birds. With the purchase of this business, Ventures consumers have been busy making suet balls, bird feeders, and packaging bird seed as well. All the proceeds from the Just for the Birds business benefit people with disabilities.
In 2002, Ventures expanded services to residents in Sawyer County. March 2003 marked the opening of their new facility located in the city limits of Hayward.
In 2006, Hayward opened a Thrift Shoppe and Ventures also began providing placement services in Rice Lake.
In 2007, Ventures expanded services in Rice Lake from a Vocational program to include a Day Services program geared towards individuals with severe disabilities.
In 2011, Ventures purchased The Celebration Station in Cameron and relocated their Rice Lake facility beginning January 3, 2012.
In 2016, Ventures was awarded a grant through Project SEARCH and the program began at Rice Lake Weighing Systems.
In 2020 Ventures purchased a Main street building in Hayward and re-opened its Ventures Unique Boutique and Thrift Shoppe.
Also in 2022, Ventures remodeled the entrance to the Cameron Unique Boutique and Thrift Shoppe, adding an additional entrance and expanding its interior to allow for processing donations.
2023 – Ventures was awarded funds from the Department of Health Services enabling us to hire a special education teacher to help with employability skills and to start working with transition-age students with disabilities. This also allowed Ventures the opportunity to provide tuition reimbursement for the staff.
For over 50 years, Ventures services and programming has evolved to what they are today-from coloring books and crayons in church basements to work and community integration in three facilities of their own serving over 150 consumers with intellectual and development disabilities.