CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- On Thursday, Bitty & Beau’s Coffee opened it’s doors in downtown Charleston. This coffee shop employs 17 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
This was the moment they’d been waiting for, a chance many thought they’d never have.
One employee, Brent Bivens, says, “I thought that I would never get a job because of my disability.”
At Bitty & Beau’s Coffee, disabilities won’t hold you back.
Bivens says, “We’ve been learning about how we greet people, how we work the register. I learned how to make smoothies, lattes.”
Bitty & Beau’s Founder Amy Wright draws inspiration from her two youngest children, Bitty and Beau, who have Down Syndrome. She says the national unemployment rate for people with intellectual disabilities is 80% and it’s time to change that.
Wright says, “We believe it’s the result of a social problem where people with intellectual disabilities aren’t valued, so this coffee shop is creating a place where people see their value. And we hope someone will see that and go back to their business and hire someone with a disability.”
This coffee shop comes with an extra dash of fun with daily dance parties and a staff who can’t wait to help you.
One employee, Sam Hazeltine, says, “Come on down, it’s a party zone. It’s a great thing to do. Have a cup of coffee, pastries, talk it up a little bit, getting to meet everyone.”
There was a line out the door on opening day and this is just the beginning.
Wright says, “It’s humbling. It’s what I feel I was put on this earth to do and to see it all come together, there’s just nothing better.”
She says they hope to open 10 more Bitty & Beau’s locations across the country in the next two years. You can find Bitty & Beau’s at 159 Church Street, Charleston. They are open daily from 8 AM- 5 PM.