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Gabi's Grounds: Woman with Down syndrome plans Raleigh coffee shop

A young woman with Down Syndrome had trouble finding a job after graduation, so she took matters into her own hands.

Posted Updated

Jessica Patrick
, WRAL.com editor
RALEIGH, N.C. — A young woman with Down syndrome had trouble finding a job after graduation, so she took matters into her own hands.

When Gabi Angelini, 20, graduated from high school, her attempts to find a summer job that would give her the hours she needed to make a living were unsuccessful. That's when her love of being in the kitchen, combined with support from her family, gave her the idea to start her own business that will employ people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

A visit to Bitty & Beau's Coffee in Wilmington, North Carolina inspired Angelini to focus on opening a shop to sell coffee and baked goods in Raleigh, her hometown.

Angelini set up a business plan and started her own Go Fund Me page, which has already raised $41,324. At the $2,000 mark, the determined entrepreneur partnered with a local coffee shop, which made a special blend for Angelini to sell to help raise money for the storefront. Its name? Gabi's Grounds.

Photo from Gabi's Grounds

In a description on her Go Fund Me page, Angelini said she hopes every cup of her coffee is like a warm hug, and she can't wait to include people with disabilities in the business. “It’s important to invite my disability friends to come work with me,” she said. “We’re gonna have a fun time together and sing and dance a lot.”

"This is more than a coffee shop for Gabi," said her mom, Mary. "She wants her shop to be a fun place for everyone to visit. From coffee and pastries to karaoke nights and dance parties, Gabi’s shop will be an inclusive place for the community to come together." Ultimately, Gabi aims to raise $200,000, which is enough to secure a storefront and get her business off the ground.

In the meantime, she is saving her paychecks from her work as a grocery store bagger and selling coffee, t-shirts, mugs and stickers that will help promote her business idea and fund all the expenses that come with opening a coffee shop.


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