CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A Charleston coffee shop that hires people with disabilities is celebrating its one year anniversary.
A year ago, Bitty and Beau Coffee opened its doors in more ways than one.
“I never had opportunity and now I do,” said Sam Hazeltine who works at Bitty and Beau’s.
This coffee shop hires people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In fact at this location, about a dozen employees have a disability.
The reason the store gets its name in the first place is because of Bitty and Beau who both have Down Syndrome.
Their mother Amy Wright started this business in honor of them.
“I know the struggles that these families face for their children with disabilities,” Wright said. “We feel like while we’re creating jobs, we’re trying to push this human rights movement so people with disabilities aren’t seen differently.”
It’s not just helping some people with a disability get a job for the first time, it’s also creating a community some never had before.
Katie Smith works there and is grateful for the support she got when her grandmother recently passed away.
“Since the Lord called her home, everyone here including the Wright family and everybody at the coffee shop have been extremely supportive,” Smith said.
It’s that kind of support that makes this place special.
“Our hope is that other businesses look at this model and they go ‘We need to incorporate a person with a disability in my place of work,’” Wright said.
Bitty and Beau’s Coffee opened their first shop in Wilmington and just opened their third location in Savannah.
The Wright family is hoping to open more stores nationwide.