At first glance, Bitty and Beau's may look like any other run-of-the-mill coffee shop, but what sets this place apart is its warmth.
The Wilmington, North Carolina-based coffee shop, which opened in January 2016 has propelled to unparalleled popularity in a short time thanks to its unique staff, which comprise 40 employees. Just about everyone who works at Bitty and Beau's has either an intellectual or developmental disability including Down syndrome, autism, and cerebral palsy.
It's worth noting that most of the employees that run this one-of-a-kind coffee shop have never had a job before due to their disabilities, and it’s their first job. Obviously, the place is brimming with their joy.
This unparalleled coffee shop is the brainchild of Amy Wright, who lives in Wilmington. She drew inspiration from two of her four children, Beau and Bitty, who have Down syndrome.
Much to their surprise, Amy and her husband, Ben found that about 70 percent people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are jobless. Rather than just complaining about the situation, the duo decided to bring about a much-needed change.
With this goal in mind, Amy came up with an idea to open a coffee shop as it would be an ideal environment for drawing people together. Besides, seeing the employees take orders, serve coffee, people were more likely to become aware of their efficiency.
Bitty and Beau's has brought 40 people with disabilities on board, along with two managers with degrees in special education. The team operates without a hitch.
It's wait time is no longer than any other leading coffee shop, according to Wright. Despite their disabilities, she says, the employees have not only gotten better at their jobs but are also in a position to lend their colleagues a helping hand when needed.
Wright runs a non-profit called Able to Work USA, which she believes has built bridges within the community. Bitty and Beau's coffee shop puts up money for this nationwide initiative that helps people with IDD (intellectual and developmental disabilities) find relevant jobs.
It has given people a never-before opportunity to connect with disabled men and women, Wright said. Moreover, this is a reliable place where people can assess and realize that we are more alike than different, she added. (Image: lelakibugis / Pixabay)