Today, we’re taking a little walk back in time to commemorate the opening of Rudy’s Happy Patch Market, which opened in the spring of 2011 – almost 7 years ago. Americus Times-Recorder reporter Kevin Gilbert wrote about plans for the opening of the market in a March 27, 2011 story.
Gilbert wrote, “Along with the new hospital, there has been ongoing construction of another new facility that has piqued the interest of many Americus residents as they pass the former Perry Brothers Oil Company site on Elm Avenue. Adjacent to Rees Park, the site has undergone significant transformation over the last year and is nearing a full recovery from devastation it suffered from the 2007 tornado, thanks to the Perry Wellness Center (PWC).”
Perry Wellness Center founder and CEO Stuart Perry was quoted as saying that the construction of a new facility and opening of a produce market were ways to put an area that had recently been “wiped out” to a good purpose. “We knew the program was going to grow,” he noted, “And we want to be in a position to help more people.”
The newspaper article continued: “PWC offers several peer based services in the mission to advance personal health and well-being among persons in the community with mental illness and addictive disorders. Over the last four years of its existence, PWC has become well known throughout the community for the seasonal homegrown produce grown and harvested by the program’s consumer or ‘peers’ as they are referred to at PWC. According to Perry, proceeds from the produce are one of the many ways the center raises funds to sustain the programs. He says the activity of gardening and selling the produce also provides the peers with structure and productivity which is one of the ways the program is helpful in maintaining wellness.
“Plans for the new wellness center began soon after the site was severely damaged by the tornado as a way to reclaim the empty buildings and warehouse. Perry Bros. Oil Company finished construction on its new facility on U.S. Highway 280 West last year. Perry said that the location in the historic and residential area of Americus, and the inclusion of the produce market will contribute to the center’s cause. Perry hopes that the center will provide the community with ‘eye opening’ understanding of the issues of mental illness and addictive disorders, and through education it will impact community involvement and volunteerism.”
Fast forward to 2018. Since its opening, the new Perry Wellness Center site and Rudy’s Happy Patch Market have both flourished. The program which began with approximately 15 members in a small building off the Plains Highway now serves as a recovery center for a total of 89 peers who deal with mental illness and substance abuse. These individuals are transported from seven counties throughout Southwest Georgia and participate in activities ranging from formal classes and discussion groups to exercise, gardening, and art.
Stuart is pleased to see the plans and dreams of many years ago come to fruition at the center. “We are proud of the acceptance of Perry Wellness Center and Happy Patch Market,” he enthused. “We look for another record year of providing additional products in our market, as we offer produce and plants from farmers in a multi-county area. I am pleased with our success and have assembled a staff that shares my same mission for Perry Wellness Center.”
Stuart concluded, “I invite area supporters to visit us at 302 East Furlow Street in Americus, and enjoy our changing variety of fresh ‘farm to table’ produce.”