Some stories just melt your heart and this one is definitely one of them! Two years ago, Amy Wright and her husband opened a coffee shop in Wilmington, North Carolina called Bitty and Beau’s. Their inspiration for the shop were their own two children, who they named the cafe after. But they didn’t name it for their children for sentimental reasons, they named it after them because Bitty and Beau have Down syndrome and their parents wanted them to have the same opportunities other young people in their community had when the time came for them to find jobs.
“Beau is 13 and Bitty is 8, both have, and it became very clear to us as we’ve been parenting them that the opportunities just aren’t there for them,” Amy said. “We weren’t looking for a job for them when we started this shop, but we were looking to change the culture so that when they were old enough, the world would be ready for them.”
Bitty & Beau’s became so successful, the Wrights opened a second shop in Charleston, South Carolina and will open a third location opening in Savannah, Georgia in September. She also said they are currently looking for new locations to expand the shop all over the U.S.
In total, the Wrights have 60 employees with various conditions such as autism, cerebral palsy, and traumatic brain injuries. Like every other job, candidates have to come in for an interview, but unlike other prospective employers, the Wrights aren’t looking for previous work experience. “We identify what they’re good at and we find a job in the shop,” Amy told CBS News.
Since the shop in Wilmington opened, one particular young man with Down syndrome has stood out. His name is Trevor and he isn’t just a hard-working barista, he’s also the resident dance machine! Amy told CBS News that Trevor is great at talking to people and having a good time. She said that he loves taking coffee orders and even dances with them while they wait for the cup of Joe to be made.
She says that Trevor deserved a promotion because “he just has a gift for entertaining people and he does a great job. He welcomes [customers] and he loves to dance” so he got one. Trevor is now the Director of Entertainment for Bitty and Beau’s and it even comes with a raise. The 23-year-old said with the extra money in his paychecks he’s going to save up for a car and a house.
Amy said one of the most rewarding parts about the coffee shop is when other families with young children with disabilities walk in the door and “see the light at the end of the tunnel. Other people that come, Trevor’s mom included, have told us what these jobs have done for [their] life.”
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