CHARLOTTE, NC Local Charlotte News – The newest coffee shop in Charlotte’s bustling South End has a line that goes out through the door. People gathering at Bitty and Beau’s Coffee not just for the amazing java, but also for the amazing people who work there.
Many of the employees there are disabled, it’s part of how Bitty and Beau’s concept works. They work as advocates for the value, acceptance, and inclusion of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities by giving them jobs to showcase just how capable they are.
That mission is something that’s close to the hearts of Victor and Aime Cennamo, owners of the South End location, Their son Ryan has a disability so when Bitty and Beau’s opened up for franchising opportunities they decided to hop on board, bringing the brand to the Charlotte area.
“We wanted to do something that could impact our family but also the community of those with disabilities and really make an impact,” Victor said.
And so far, they have. Melissa Guinn’s daughter works as a drink caller at the coffee shop and she says her daughter has been beyond thrilled to have a job.
“It just makes you feel like there’s hope because when you have a child with special needs you’re not sure how… it’s just not a typical future,” Guinn said.
For cashier Andrea Erb, she’s also been all smiles. To finally have a job that gives her an opportunity to showcase that she’s more than capable of contributing.
“(Victor and Aime) have been very helpful and I’m very thankful that they’ve opened this place,” Erb said.
Part of the way they help is with Bitty and Beau’s ordering system. Which uses matching playing cards instead of names or numbers to track orders. Once an order is placed, the customer gets a card and the other stays with the order ticket.
“So our employees actually just call out the king of diamonds your order is ready and that’s our system,” Aime said.
The system works flawlessly which not only helps the self-esteem of the workers but also teaches customers a valuable lesson. That a disability doesn’t hold someone back from getting a job done.
“It’s incredible, I cried,” said Melissa Nash, a special education teacher in the area. “In me, in talking to the parents of my kids they’re super excited to know there’s somewhere there kids can work one day and it’s awesome.”
If you’d like to try out Bitty and Beau’s Charlotte location, they’re located at 1930 Camden Rd Suite 236 in Charlotte, NC.
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