Supports Flow For Café Run By Employees With Down Syndrome

By Abbie Kraft, Parent Herald April 19, 10:52 pm

A coffee shop located in Wilmington, North Carolina opened its doors to people with special needs. Beau's Coffee made it big after the owner, Amy Wright, launched the business in January.

Beau's Coffee gathered a lot of attention after the café opened its doors. Support flowed after coffee lovers found out that most of their staff were adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Wright's children, Beau and Bitty, were both diagnosed with Down syndrome. Her initiative to start the coffee business gathered positive support within the neighborhood. The café paved a way for people with special needs to interact and participate with the society.

"While establishing Beau's Coffee unfolded very quickly, my husband and I have been advocating for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities for over a decade," Wright told The Mighty during an interview. "Beau's Coffee just flowed from this passion."

Coffee shops that were run by staff with special needs aren't exclusive in the United States. A small café in Singapore, APSN Mystical Cafe For All, also has staff with learning disabilities, according to Today Online.

The café does not only hired staff with intellectual disabilities, but they also have a "pay-it-forward" initiative. Customers are encouraged to buy a meal voucher to be given to a stranger that is less fortunate for them to have a free meal.

APSN president Victor Tay opened up about the uniqueness of the coffee shop, sharing that they adapt the farm-to-table menu. The staff is highly trained from basic hygiene, food preparation and also service skills.

"[We should] learn to shift away from that [mentality] where we hire [people with special needs] just based on compassionate grounds," Dr. Tay's said. "But then later cut their pay and remove them if they don't do a good job ... We need more evangelists [with similar models] to show that they've managed to do it well."

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