Wetaskiwin man turns passion for shredding into successful business

For nearly 15 years, a Wetaskiwin man has been available for all your shredding needs.

Aaron Grimm, an autistic man who is mostly non-verbal, has turned his shredding business venture into an opportunity to make the major life step of buying a house.

“He just has always loved shredding,” Aaron’s mother Vanessa said in an interview with CTV News Edmonton.

“He wanted to do it himself, he didn’t want to go into a company,” she added.

Aaron started AG Shredding & Recycling Services back in 2007 when he needed something to do between university years.

With the help of Vanessa and his support worker Stephanie Hamm, Aaron has turned his passion for shredding into profit.

His family used saved-up disability payments to help support the business.

“The first shredder they bought burnt out after a day,” Vanessa said as she laughed.

Within a week of setting up, Aaron hit the ground running putting an ad in the local paper. Several clients reached out including the local Tim Hortons who had 70 boxes of shredding.

“I was surprised. Seven zero? Or one seven? And she said, ‘no – seven zero, and there may be more,’” Vanessa recalled.

“That was the beginning. He has never looked back.”

Vanessa added that it is the sensory elements that Aaron connects most with while shredding, like the sounds, sights, and problem solving as paper jams.

“There’s lots of communication there, but it’s just not verbal a lot of the time, or it’s this kind of verbal,” Vanessa said as he sang.

“He doesn’t have to speak to be able to tell you what he wants and how he feels,” Hamm told CTV News Edmonton.

“(Shredding and running the business) creates social interaction for him, as well as community inclusion,” she added.

The business’ success has led to a major milestone for Aaron this week: the keys to his own home.

His mother says this business and now personal home gives Aaron long-term security.

“If roommates ever decided they didn’t want to live there anymore, he would never have to move out, they would,” Vanessa said.

Vanessa says the family will hire some support for Aaron as he gets settled into his new home, but is excited for his growing independence.

“Dream big for all your kids, even the ones with disabilities,” she said.

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Carlyle Fiset