The Clean Cut: Southern Living features North Carolina coffee shop that hires special needs employees.

Posted December 15, 2016

Most coffee shops are frantic hives of activity where employees work at nearly superhuman speeds to get their customers their orders as quickly as possible. At Bitty & Beau's Coffee in Wilmington, North Carolina, they have different priorities.

"There is a different level of hospitality when you walk into this place and I just think it's because you are welcomed," said Maddie Ashcraft, a Manager at Bitty and Beau's. "It is the most genuine thing you'll ever feel."

The shop's owners, Amy and Ben Wright, named the shop after two of their children who have Down syndrome.

More than forty of the employees at Bitty and Beau's have intellectual and developmental disabilities.

"While Bitty and Beau aren't looking for jobs right now, " Amy Wright said in the video. "It's on our radar. There's a statistic that somewhere between 70 and 85 percent of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities are unemployed and we just think that's an embarrassment to our country."

Ashcraft said in the video that Bitty and Beau's Coffee runs at a different pace than other coffee shops.

"It's very intentional that we don't have a drive through here because we feel like we've created a culture where people are spending time together," Amy Wright said. "And the icing on the cake is that some of those people have intellectual and developmental disabilities and I think when that happens, the walls come down."


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