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Local candy company creates inclusive workplace
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Local candy company creates inclusive workplace

Georgia Costa

Blaine resident Tanareneau opened a buttermint to employ people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The Better Buttermint Co. employs eight people with developmental disabilities, or “Rockstars,” who work alongside volunteers. 

“We are committed to a nurturing environment,” Reneau said of the company she started in May 2021. “Beyond [giving employees] job skills, we can also give them the chance to be social, have friends and develop a sense of belonging.”

Reneau stated that Better Buttermint Co. was founded to give young adults with disabilities a sense of belonging. This fosters personal growth, develops meaningful relationships, and helps them socially.

Reneau’s son, Ryker, is a Blaine High School junior who has an expressive language disorder. Reneau said Ryker’s motor skills and verbal skills have noticeably improved since working at the business.

“There is nothing more after public education for kids with disabilities,” she said. “As we have all lived through this isolating pandemic, [kids with disabilities] have had to live in detrimental isolation forever and will in the future.”

Better Buttermint Co. is where Rockstars make the sweets, then package and deliver them to local businesses. The buttermints are $6.

The Rockstars contribute fun flavors to the buttermints such as peanut butter cup, peppermint mocha, pumpkin spice, and peanut butter cup. The company teamed with Ferndale’s Laurel Lavender Farm for a white chocolate lavender mint flavor.

The company currently operates out of a commercial kitchen at Lions Camp Horizon (Birch Bay), but Reneau and her spouse are looking to expand into a Blaine property.

Reneau’s new business, coupled with her background in education, has carved the path for her to be an advocate for equitable education and social opportunities for youth in Whatcom County.

Reneau, who received her master’s degree in teaching from Washington State University, worked as a principal in her hometown of Kennewick before moving to Blaine in 2011. Reneau is currently completing her doctorate at North Central University while she runs her buttermint company. 

“We all need to link arms,” she said. “We need to see this need for the population. Just as much, as I see. [growth] in our kids, I also see a transformation in the people who work alongside them.”

Reneau’s business has made most of its public outreach at the local farmers’ markets. Reneau is often greeted by parents of children with disabilities, as well as people who are interested in volunteering, as she sells her buttermints.

Better Buttermint Co. is currently a non-profit organization. However, it needs to establish a board and donor partners. 

“We’ve met families at a loss for how to make their kids’ lives purposeful,” Reneau said. “Because the process [of making buttermints] is simple, it is therapeutic for motor and communication skills.”

For more information, email Tana Reneau at [email protected] or visit the Better Buttermint Co. website at

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