Novi phone repair shop partners with Friendship Circle to benefit people with special needs

NOVI, Mich. – It looks like just a printer, but it’s proving to be so much more for children with special needs in Metro Detroit.

It’s becoming a way for them to express themselves through art -- and to make a profit.

What does art have to do with a cell phone repair shop in Novi? As it turns out, for Ellen Hulverson and her daughter, the answer is everything.

Hulverson’s daughter Becky is on the autism spectrum. While having her phone fixed at the Pod Drop on Grand River Avenue in Novi, Hulverson found that Becky’s art could be put through a special printer at the shop.

For Becky, it’s easier for her to communicate through art and now Hulverson can have Becky’s art in her hands anywhere.

The shop uses a UV printer, which allows images and text to be printed directly onto a variety of different surfaces without losing detail. Ultraviolet lights dry the ink instantly, allowing it to print on acrylic, foam, aluminum and more.

Hulverson went to where Becky paints, the Friendship Circle’s Soul Studio in West Bloomfield, to show them what she’s doing.

“I took them in and said, ‘This is what Robert is doing. He really wants to help us. He’s got ideas,” Hulverson said.

Rob Carter is the owner of the Pod Drop and the printer. He saw Becky’s art and knew the work the Friendship Circle was doing with adults with special needs.

“A light went off,” Carter said. “I said, ‘What I can do with machines like this, with the talent and artists that they have there?’ Something has got to give here.”

Carter is taking his printer to the Soul Studio and start printing nonstop.

The art will go on sale Sunday. Money from the sales will be split between the artists and the Friendship Circle. More information on the art sale can be found here.

More information on the Friendship Circle can be found here.

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