JOPLIN, Mo. — A new year, a new contract for one of the area’s most unique businesses.

Joplin Workshops provides jobs for men and women who are developmentally challenged.

Greg Buxton has worked for the not-for-profit for five years and came a long way for the opportunity.

“I was in New York City when I found out I got the job, and I was so happy to start and it really made me happy to be working here with all my friends that I’ve been friends with since 2008,” said Buxton.

Workshops employs 53 people, a number that has increased due to a new product line that started just a few weeks ago.

It’s a protein drink variety pack, under the brand name “Iconic Immunity Coffee.”

Workshops Operations Manager, Tracy Tune, says the California-based company sells its products online, as well as nationwide in retailers like Walmart.

She says there’s another Joplin connection with the product.

“So the other boxes are single flavors, and we take one of three different flavors and then put one of each of them into the new box to make the variety pack. The protein drinks are bottled here at Jasper Products and then it comes to us to make a variety pack,” said Tune.

But that’s not the only area company to utilize their services, so does Neosho’s La-Z-Boy, which sends them parts to be assembled into recliner chair levers.

“We need to rivet several parts together and then wingnut some others together to make a completed assembly.”

And Tune says they’re always looking to contract with other local businesses.