Grampa’s Garden: Building Community through Comfort 

Grampa’s Garden: Building Community through Comfort 

“I was known to take headaches away forever,” Jacqui Painchaud remembers of her days as a physical therapist. Jacqui was a pain relief specialist, using holistic healing methods, like craniosacral therapy, to help clients resolve chronic headaches. Nearly thirty years later, she integrates her knowledge of the body into her well-loved company, Grampa’s Garden, a leading manufacturer of therapeutic products. The company’s unique products, like weighted washable blankets and weighted wearable stuffed animals, are used in hospitals, homes, and hospice facilities across the country. The Grampa’s Garden Sensory Adventure Spa, in Brunswick, offers a relaxing space for community members to grab tea and unwind. As the weather turns colder and the days become shorter, Grampa’s Garden products offer a comforting solution for people of all ages. With a mission to serve the therapeutic needs of the public, Jacqui and her company can help us all stay a little less stressed during this pandemic-era winter.  

Though she had originally dreamed of starting a health food store, Jacqui Painchaud quickly changed her mind after a friend and soon-to-be business partner gifted her a quilted therapy pack for Christmas. “You just gave me the best present!” Jacqui remembers telling her friend, “We need this kind of therapy, and I know what we’re going to do for our business now!” Having worked in the medical industry for years, Jacqui was tired of the toxic, dangerously hot hydrocollator packs that were standard tools for therapists. After a quick patent search to see what products were available, Jacqui decided to act on her business idea. Within a few months, she and her business partner had started to manufacture and market Grampa’s Garden weighted washable therapy packs. The product has since morphed into weighted vests, lap pads, body shawls, blankets, and other unique, non-toxic solutions to treat anxiety, stress, ADD, autism and other sensory integration issues.  

Jacqui remembers taking the products on the road to shows, paying close attention to the feedback of consumers.  She used her fluency in the medical industry to connect with hospitals and medical sites around the country. Grampa’s Garden weighted washable blankets have become a well-loved product at children’s hospitals like St. Jude’s, Boston Children’s Hospital, and Colorado Children’s Hospital, to name a few. In addition to children, older patients living with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease find relief under the compressive warmth of the weighted products. With blankets ranging from 5lbs to 25lbs, the lighter weight blankets are used in hospice facilities. Jacqui most recently connected with an organization supporting victims of human trafficking and abuse in Las Vegas. The group will use Grampa’s Garden products in their new healing arts center. With seventy percent of their sales in large hospitals, and products sold both nationally and locally, it’s no wonder that Jacqui and her company were named as one of Maine Biz Top 10 Women in Manufacturing for 2021. 

Whether dealing with chronic issues or short-lived pain, people of all ages have found relief with Grampa’s Garden products. “My husband just finished 44 rounds of radiation treatment” one grateful reviewer shares, stating that the body shawl “helps him deal with the aches and pains.” Chronic pain can be very disruptive for sleep and mental health, so having non-opioid pain management strategies can impact daily life in proactive and sustainable ways.   

Another reviewer calls her weighted blanket “remarkable”, saying that “it helps me sleep and seems to reduce my pain from fibromyalgia.” For children with sensory integration issues, weighted products help them to cope with hyper-sensitivity. One parent writes that the lap pad helps her daughter relax during therapy sessions, while another parent testifies that her daughter uses her weighted stuffed animal to “calm herself when she has sensory overload.” Other customers praise the essential oils products for helping them breathe more easily, relax and sleep through the night. Jacqui herself loves the roll-on essential oil blend, Relieva, which combines wintergreen, clove, peppermint, and lavender for aromatherapy and pain relief. “When my neck gets tight and achy, I’ll roll it on,” Jacqui says. 

While the company has a national reach, the Sensory Adventure Spa, in Brunswick, caters to the local community. “Our store is a small imprint of what we do,” says Jacqui, who entrusts her brother, Michael Painchaud, with managing it. Michael had a vision for a gathering place that integrated the healing arts, therapy products and comforting drinks. Visitors can curl up in a corner with a book and cup of tea, enjoy a chair massage session, or browse the many items for sale. With its proximity to Bowdoin College, the store is a popular spot for student study groups and Friday night music sessions. There are also family events, like Storytime, where parents can sip tea while their children relax with a body shawl and listen to the talents of a local storyteller. “People come into the store and want to offer what they do,” Jacqui says, highlighting the store’s openness to local talent and community-inspired events. 

In addition to company’s classics items, Grampa’s Garden has exciting new products on the market. Their mini body shawl is a calming weighted comfort for children as young as two years old. For folks with carpal tunnel or Reynaud’s phenomenon, the adjustable wrist and hand wraps offer thermal compression for either or both hands. “You can type, read a book, and be mobile with it,” Jacqui says of the new product, which can even benefit people before or after surgery. As the winter season approaches, the immune essential oil blend and aromatherapy spray are healthy essentials. These new products can be found in their November catalogue, on the website, or in the Brunswick store.  

As a physical therapist turned entrepreneur, Jacqui brings her passion for healing into both her products and her client relationships. She and her team cater to the diverse and changing needs of large hospitals just as well as the local community members who come to enjoy the Brunswick shop. Her consumer-driven approach is also evident in the evolution of her products, which stand out in the competitive self-care market. As the holidays approach and the cold weather sets in, consider Grampa’s Garden a goldmine of self-care solutions that can help make pandemic-era life a little less stressful. 

Learn more about Grampa’s Garden online at www.grampasgarden.com or stop into the shop at 146 Maine St in Brunswick. 

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Emily Dunuwila

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