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Sunday, May 28, 2023

National Disabilities Awareness Month Business Owner with Autism Finds Success Through Entrepreneurship

Marcus Moore, 29, is passionate about pretzels, business and creating a way to be self-sufficient in life. The Annapolitan’s pretzel operation called “Moore Crunch” began in October of 2022.

“Be happy and never give up,” Moore said cheerfully.

Marcus does not let having autism stop him from striving to become a successful business owner. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is “a developmental disability caused by differences in the brain,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Maryland crab, cinnamon sugar, garlic ranch, smokehouse ranch and buffalo flavored bags of pretzels are created and packaged with a dash of happiness and loads of determination. Moore wants his supporters to be satisfied with his pretzel products. He does everything from mixing up his recipes, to answering emails and printing out order labels.

“Marcus has a very infectious smile and amazing attitude. It’s almost like his character, joy and happiness goes into every bag of pretzels,” Moore’s father, Walter Mills said.

​​Marcus Moore, owner and operator of Moore Crunch, buys bowls for his business.
Photo credit: Poppa Crunch

Moore’s mother, Kathy Watson added perspective about Moore’s commitment to keep his customers happily crunching. According to Watson, Moore is also employed at a grocery store near their home.

“Marcus does “Moore Crunch” full time. He walks to work for a 6 a.m. shift. and gets off at 2 p.m. We make sure he de-escalates from the day. He gets right to work on “Moore Crunch” until almost eight o’clock at night, so he technically has two full time jobs,” Watson explained.

Watson and Mills added that they are entrepreneurs who assist Moore with business related administrative tasks, in addition to life skills. Moore’s parents hit pause on their businesses to give their son a proper start that he needed to run “Moore Crunch.” Watson’s comedic identity is “Momma Crunch” and Mills’ humorous title is “Poppa Crunch.”

The family with a sense of humor gets down to business when the proper time arrives. Watson said that creating and selling pretzels was a group decision. Moore was unafraid to try something new after a family conversation sparked the idea to create “Moore Crunch.” Watson explained that Moore and his brother, Xavier, discussed paying household bills. They both began to realize that their parents had to meet monthly expenses. Moore grew concerned about how he would someday be able to afford to live on his own.

“One thing Marcus loves to do is eat,” Watson said, reflecting on the pretzel creation idea.

A logo idea led Moore’s parents to send a text his way. Moore welcomed the opportunity to try his hand at a pretzel business.

“We did not know that we were going to become official employees,” Watson said as Mills chuckled in the background.

 When Moore was a young child, Watson and Mills faced a different aspect of their son’s journey. They were told that he was a special needs child when he was in the first grade. Along the way, a professional once told the couple that Moore could always have a job because someone is always needed to collect shopping carts.

“The word autism is something that has been recently used a lot lately in the last eight or nine years,” Watson said.

But Moore’s parents optimistically harnessed Moore’s gifts while pushing aside doubters. Although Marcus mentioned that he has experienced social anxiety, he explained that a previous grocery job  exposed him to being around more people. It helped him to become more comfortable in social settings.

Crofton’s Farmer’s Market was the first place the family started selling “Moore Crunch.” Some local grocery stores now carry the pretzels.

“He’s actually gotten a lot of requests for wholesale from large grocery stores all the way to little mom-and-pop shops. So, there’s a lot in the future for Marcus,” Watson said.

She added that news of Moore’s growing business is making rounds. Requests to carry the pretzels are coming from as far as California and Texas. Marcus’ journey reminds that a child’s capabilities should not be limited.

“Every person, every child and family have their own journey and they all look different, but you have to be your child’s biggest advocate,” Mills said, referencing past experiences when Moore was in school. “Now we understand that there are various degrees of autism. That’s why they call it a spectrum. But the biggest thing that I would add is that Marcus has become an inspiration to people, parents and to families of autistic children because it’s important that everyone is acknowledged.”

Visit www.moorecrunch.com to learn more about Moore or to order his pretzels.

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