Hutto's SammySocks Etc. brings employment opportunities to adults with autism

"You have higher-functioning people that could function on their own, and then some that would need the job coaches, while some would need a whole lot more supervision," SammySocks Etc. co-owner Sally Lyons said. "But we still try to treat them as an asset to the community." (Courtesy SammySocks Etc.)
"You have higher-functioning people that could function on their own, and then some that would need the job coaches, while some would need a whole lot more supervision," SammySocks Etc. co-owner Sally Lyons said. "But we still try to treat them as an asset to the community." (Courtesy SammySocks Etc.)

"You have higher-functioning people that could function on their own, and then some that would need the job coaches, while some would need a whole lot more supervision," SammySocks Etc. co-owner Sally Lyons said. "But we still try to treat them as an asset to the community." (Courtesy SammySocks Etc.)

For Hutto residents Mark and Sally Lyons, the path toward launching an online business is rooted in family.

The Lyons opened SammySocks Etc. on Sept. 1, an online-only shop that specializes in the sale of men's, women's and children's socks. The business endeavor, more than three years in the making, was born out of providing employment opportunities to their son, Samuel.

Samuel has autism, and there are limited employment opportunities for him, his mother said. In creating SammySocks Etc., the Lyons said they hope their business can provide a safe space for their son to work and expand upon his skills. By extension, they hope their business can also provide employment resources to other adults with autism in the future, crafting up a space for all employees to feel welcomed.

"We want to create a space for Samuel to be able to work that is safe, that he's comfortable with and it's a job that he can do," Sally Lyons said. "And we hope to be successful enough to hire more, so that we can hire other individuals that are like Samuel—that need a place safe place to work and their parents don't have to worry about them being exploited in any way."

So far, much of their business has progressed through word of mouth alone. Parents from Samuel's previous classes have reached out in support of the Lyons' efforts. As the business grows and is able to expand its resources, others have asked how to have their child employed with the business.


Just as SammySocks' business launch was inspired by Samuel, so, too, is its product line. A lover of pajamas, Sally Lyons said she hopes to soon offer pajama pants as part of the business's product line. Future ideas include T-shirts adorned with Samuel-isms—expressions and phrases that Samuel has coined.

"Because of his [obsessive compulsive disorder], he tends to repeat things over and over and over again. One is, 'It's taking too long,'" Sally Lyons said, laughing. "We're gonna probably put those on hats and T-shirts eventually."

Not only does SammySocks serve as an employment resource for adults with autism, Sally Lyons said, but it also has the potential for volunteer opportunities for area students. She said she envisions a warehouse that includes different specialization areas for people with a range of needs and classifications on the autism spectrum.

"If we ever got big enough, it would be nice to have different sections that would cater to people with different needs," Sally Lyons said. "You have higher-functioning people that could function on their own, and then some that would need the job coaches, while some would need a whole lot more supervision. But we still try to treat them as an asset to the community."


MOST RECENT

US Attorney General Merrick Garland and US Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta announced the lawsuit against Texas on Dec. 6. (Screenshot courtesy of Department of Justice)
U.S. Dept. of Justice lawsuit alleges Texas' redistricting maps discriminate against voters of color

The suit alleges that the Texas Legislature redrew the maps to reduce voters of colors' influence on elections.

The 6.5-mile project will be an important connection for the pedestrian, bicycle and transit networks, according to city officials. (Courtesy Austin Public Works)
CI TEXAS ROUNDUP: City of Austin begins design of urban trail on abandoned rail corridor; 12 things to do in and around New Braunfels this holiday season and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas in Texas as of Dec. 6.

Consuelo Mendez Middle School has consistently received poor ratings from the Texas Education Agency. (Community Impact Newspaper)
CI TEXAS ROUNDUP: State could take over AISD school board if poorly-rated campus does not improve; new furniture store to open in McKinney and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas in Texas as of Dec. 3.

Derrick Chubbs is leaving Austin for a food bank in Florida. (Courtsey Central Texas Food Bank)
Central Texas Food Bank CEO Derrick Chubbs steps down

Derrick Chubbs is leaving Austin for a food bank in Florida.

The school board will consider whether to call a special election to fill the vacancy or make an appointment. (Zara Flores/Community Impact Newspaper)
CI TEXAS ROUNDUP: Hays CISD to hold special meeting on resignation of board member; Montgomery approves plan for downtown and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas in Texas as of Dec. 2.

Tomball City Council approved a development agreement with Lovett Industrial for 240 acres at Hwy. 249, Rocky Road Nov. 29. (Anna Lotz/Community Impact Newspaper)
CI TEXAS ROUNDUP: Tomball City Council approves development of 240 acres at Hwy. 249, Rocky Road; JLB Eatery coming soon to Katy and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas in Texas as of Dec. 1.

Crust Pizza Co. is opening soon in Montgomery and Willis. (Courtesy Crust Pizza Co.)
CI TEXAS ROUNDUP: 5 businesses coming to McKinney; Crust Pizza Co. to open two locations in Montgomery, Willis and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas in Texas as of Nov. 30.

I Live Here I Give Here encourages individuals to donate to nonprofit organizations in their community. (Courtesy I Live Here I Give Here)
I Live Here I Give Here encourages Austinites to donate to local organizations Nov. 30

The nonprofit is encouraging the community to donate for Giving Tuesday on Nov. 30.

The median home price in the Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto area has risen considerably since last October. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)
CI TEXAS ROUNDUP: Home sales, costs in Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto remain hotter than Greater Austin; Halal Guys opens in Pearland and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas in Texas as of Nov. 29.

Commissioners on Nov. 22 voted to approve a density change to preliminary plans for The Preserve, a neighborhood that city documents said could include 565 single-family homes at the northeast corner of Teel and Panther Creek Parkways. (Courtesy city of Frisco)
CI TEXAS ROUNDUP: Neighborhood near PGA Frisco could see larger lots; ERCOT says Texas power grid ready for expected winter demand and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas in Texas as of Nov. 24.