Local News

Wilmington coffee shop owner named CNN Hero

Posted June 27

— Amy Wright, the owner of the Bitty & Beau's Coffee, the Wilmington coffee shop featured in the WRAL.com original series, was recognized as this week's CNN Hero.

CNN Heroes are described as "everyday people doing extraordinary things to change the world."

Bitty & Beau's

The Wright family opened the original Beau’s Coffee in January 2016. That 500-square-foot space was run by 19 employees with IDD.

The coffee shop employs 40 people with IDD and has been recognized nationally for fighting the statistic that 70 percent of people with IDD nationwide are unemployed.

In July 2016, Beau’s 12th birthday wish was to rename the shop after his sister too. The shop moved to a 5,000-square-foot space under the name Bitty & Beau’s Coffee and hired even more unique people to accept, value and celebrate.

The North Carolina-based coffee ship is expanding and will open a second location in Charleston, South Carolina in fall of 2017.

Amy and Ben Wright, coffee shop owners

Amy and Ben Wright are the parents to four children. Their youngest children, 7-year-old Bitty and 12-year-old Beau, have Down syndrome. According to the couple, they "hit the jackpot twice" and are the luckiest parents in the world.

Bitty & Beau's Coffee

As advocates for the value, inclusion and celebration of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), the family now owns and operates Bitty & Beau’s Coffee in Wilmington.

"There is a different level of hospitality when you walk into this place, and it is because you are welcome. It is the most genuine thing you’ll ever feel," store manager Maddie Ashcraft said. "When you think about a coffee shop, I think rushed and quick. I think the pace changes when you walk into Bitty & Beau’s."

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