Amy Wright has two children with Down syndrome and knows far too well what life is like for those with a genetic disorder. She also knows what they are capable of achieving despite their disability.
Three characteristics that employers look for is able, ready to work and valued, these exact characteristics are found with people who have Downs syndrome. Despite this, there is a high unemployment rate for those with disabilities. In 2017 it was found that people with any kind of disability were more than double the rate of those with no disability.
With these facts in mind, Amy Wright took action, she decided to open the worlds first coffee shop that offered employment to those with Downs syndrome and other intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The first coffee shop is born
In January of 2016, the first Bitty and Beau’s Coffee shop opened in Wilmington, North Carolina. This proved to be an outstanding success with many people using the shop and the employees found that they had a strong advocate in Amy.
The second coffee shop
Then two and half years later, Bitty and Beau’s opened in a second location in Charleston, South Carolina, this was another outstanding success with double the employees of the first shop.
The third coffee shop
Now a third location has opened in Savannah, Georgia and Amy hopes that she will open many more coffee shops all over the US in the coming years.
The shops serve excellent coffee with loyal customers but what is grabbing people’s attention when they use the shops is the unique customer service they receive, as Any says “Our community has completely embraced Beau’s Coffee, every expectation that we had has been exceeded.”
Amy’s vision from day one is that Bitty and Beau’s would change the world and how those with disabilities are perceived, she had no idea how fast it would grow or the positive attention it would receive.
Since their humble beginnings, Bitty and Beau’s has been featured on The Today Show, CNN, Good Morning America, People Magazine, Southern Living Magazine, and was even made the official coffee of the Rachel Ray Show.
Amy shared some of her thoughts on Facebook about what Bitty and Beau’s has accomplished over the years. “We knew we were creating jobs,” she wrote. “What we didn’t know was that we were creating a culture. Just look around Beau’s Coffee and you’ll find people from all walks of life doing life together. Everybody counts.”
Contributing To The Culture
This is such an exciting time for all of those connected for both patrons and employees, and if you are wondering how you can help and be part of this magical journey you can do the following:
- If you live close enough to a Bitty and Beau’s location, drop by to say hello, grab a coffee, and see for yourself what can be accomplished when people of all abilities are valued and appreciated.
- If a coffee shop has yet to be built in your state, you can still support the cause by shopping at Bitty and Beau’s online storeor donating to ABLE to Work USA. This helps create more jobs for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
- Let your friends, neighbors, and employers hear this story and help change the unemployment rate for people with disabilities. As Wright said, “Our hope is that other businesses will see our success and realize the importance and benefits of hiring people with intellectual disabilities.” Spread the word, share the love, and change the world.
One Cup Of Coffee At A Time
Who would have thought that something as simple as a cup of coffee could make such a remarkable impact on the world? Wright shared, “My experience has been that people with special needs bring a refreshing perspective to every moment in life. Working alongside this population has been one of my greatest joys in life.” So once again, maybe it’s not the coffee that’s making the impact, it’s the people.