Every coffee shop has something unique to offer. The same can be said about Bitty & Beau’s coffee, a shop that embraces uniqueness in any way that it can. Bitty & Beau’s started off as a single shop in North Carolina and has now expanded to five other stores throughout the United States. Their motto is “Changing the way that people see other people.” B&B’s accomplish this through a staff composed almost entirely of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Beau Wright, son of Bitty & Beau’s owner Amy Wright, was the original inspiration for the shop. Both Beau and his younger sister Bitty Wright have down syndrome. Wanting to make the world a better place for all four of her children, the chain was born.
“Most of our employees have never had a job before,” Amy said. “We like to make a really big deal out of giving them a job. We gather friends and family and surprise each employee with a job offer and an apron. These surprise job offers are some of my favorite moments.”
Bitty and Beau’s Coffee
With more shops on the way, especially an upcoming location to be set in Ann Arbor, the Bitty & Beau’s team is hard at work to provide great customer service to as many people as they can. According to Amy, Ann Arbor has “been on our radar for a while.” With opening new stores comes more opportunities for people with disabilities to get hired in.
“With 80% of people with disabilities unemployed in our country, finding employees is never an obstacle,” Amy said. “We build our team with capable, hard-working, amazing individuals who are showing the world what is possible.”
The expansion of the franchise came alongside Amy’s nomination and awarding of CNN’s 2017 hero of the year. With this award, she received $100,000 to further her and her employees’ impact on communities of people with disabilities.
“Every time we open a shop, we’re blown away by the community support as well as the people who travel from far and wide to be a part of our opening day,” Amy said. “We have a world map in every shop so guests can pinpoint where they’re from. Our shops are not only a destination, they’re a place of hope and transformation.”
Bitty & Beau’s is a step towards creating equality for people with disabilities in the workplace, and ultimately everywhere. This brand has so much to offer, both in terms of coffee and heart, so make sure to check them out in person or through their online shop.
Bitty & Beau’s is currently in the early stages of planning. Although a location or timeline hasn’t been provided, the store aims to open by summer 2022. Keep your eyes open for the latest from Bitty & Beau’s!