Pecado Bueno Takes the Pledge!

This past Thursday, January 25, I (WIN Reporter Catherine Brewer) sat down with James Schmidt, the owner of Pecado Bueno, a community-involved chain of Mexican restaurants that, just at the time of our meeting, took the pledge to become a WIN certified business. Asking James what he planned to do to help his business become more “WIN friendly” James held up one of our “steps to becoming a WIN business” pamphlets and laughed, “Well the first thing I’m gonna do is I want to put this in all my staff’s pay checks - that’s one envelope I know they’ll open.” 

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James has been an active member of the special needs community for years, from holding fundraisers for the Experimental Education Unit and the Academy of Precision Learning, to teaching a weekly cooking class at the Alyssa Burnett Center. James’ engagement in the community began like it did for so many of us, with the diagnosis of a loved one. Around the time his daughter was diagnosed with a genetic disorder, James began renting a building that hosted a little community business known as ASTAR, Autism Spectrum Treatment And Research, founded in 2003 by Dr. Gary Stobbe (a member of the Welcome Inclusion Steering Committee). “I don’t know if it was divine intervention, but right when I needed a team I had one that was beholden to me, and we were beholden to them” says James of the perfectly timed convergence of these two worlds. Ever since that day, James has been devoted to helping those in the special needs community stating, “If you have a sibling or if you have a child... you all have autism. It’s not just the person, the family has it. We all have this, we all deal with it. And in the community as well, this is all part of our responsibility. We’re not here just to take care of ourselves, we’re here to be part of a community.”

Who’s gonna be disappointed by this? How do you not participate and go to sleep at night?
— James Schmidt, Pecado Bueno

Asking James why it was important for him to be a WIN certified business he put simply, “You’ve got to give more than you receive. You just have to or it doesn’t work.” He went along, gesturing to his numerous community involvement plaques lining the walls of Pecado Bueno, saying “I put these plaques up not for me and my staff, but for the community. So that they know what type of business we are…. It’s a win for this community, and it’s probably a win for my pocket book.”

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Finally, James Schmidt spoke about why he thinks it’s important for other businesses to take the pledge as well. “I know it’s a win [for the community], and I'm pretty darn sure it’s a win-win [for business as well]. That’s why I do these things, because I know it’s the right thing to do for the community.” He spoke of how not only is it a smart business move, but it’s just the right thing to do, concluding with, “Who’s gonna be disappointed by this? How do you not participate and go to sleep at night?”

Take the WIN Pledge online at