Nicknamed “The Happiest Place in Wilmington,” a North Carolina shop called Bitty & Beau’s Coffee employs 40 workers with disabilities. To assist those people in doing good work, it also employs two managers with backgrounds in special education. The founder and CEO of Bitty & Beau’s Coffee is Amy Wright who was honored as one of the Top 10 CNN Heroes for 2017.
The morally conscious coffee shop opened in January 2016 and immediately attracted media attention for its disabled staff. It also won the affection of the public, not just for hiring the handicapped, but for the good jobs done by those handicapped people. The brisk business at Bitty & Beau’s Coffee led it to relocate to a larger space a mere six months after it opened.
People who work at Bitty & Beau’s Coffee have a variety of handicaps including cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome, and autism. Wright proudly notes that efficiency is not sacrificed at the shop. “Our wait time is no longer than any of our competitors,” she cheerfully asserts. “They’ve all gotten really good at their jobs and step up if somebody else needs help.”
The special problems of the disabled strongly hit home to Amy Wright. Her two youngest children, Bitty and Beau, after whom the shop was named, both have Down Syndrome. CNN Heroes reports, “When Wright and her husband discovered that 70% of those with intellectual disabilities don’t have jobs, they opened the coffee shop to do something about it.”
Wright has said that, with the birth of Beau, “we were thrust into the world of special needs” which led Wright and her husband to “advocate” for the disabled, an advocacy that “intensified” after Bitty was born. Thus, she contends, Bitty & Beau’s Coffee “is more than a cup of coffee. It’s a human rights movement.”
Bitty & Beau’s Coffee Makes a Marc on the World, one cup of coffee at a time.