Coffee shop coming to Alabama focuses on the ‘ability in disability’

Coffee shop coming to Alabama focuses on the ‘ability in disability’
Bitty and Beau's Coffee is coming to Auburn. The shop has had success in employing those with Down syndrome. (contributed)

A new coffee shop is coming to Auburn that is working to shift the way people view individuals with disabilities.

North-Carolina-based Bitty & Beau’s Coffee is planning to open a branch in downtown Auburn next spring. The coffee shop is named after owners Ben and Amy Wright’s two youngest children who have Down syndrome.

“Eighty percent of people with disabilities don’t have jobs – and we’re out to change that,” said cofounder Amy Wright. “Not just by providing employment opportunities for people with disabilities, but by showing our guests what’s possible.”

Bitty & Beau’s Coffee will open in Auburn in 2022. (contributed)

The Wrights like to share with people the ability in disability by employing local individuals with disabilities in all their coffee shops. They currently employ about 120 people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in their 23 locations.

The couple said in a news release their special employees become “valued, accepted and included in every community.” Indeed, Bitty & Beau’s motto is, “it’s more than just a cup of coffee.”

The chain was founded in 2016 in Wilmington, North Carolina. Just five years later, Bitty & Beau’s branches can be found in 12 states from Texas to Massachusetts. The Auburn location will be in the new AuburnBank Center, which is under construction and scheduled to open in the spring of 2022 at the intersection of Gay Street and East Magnolia Avenue.

“Bitty & Beau’s Coffee will be a tremendous amenity for our project and downtown Auburn, and we are excited to welcome them as one of the first tenants in our new building,” said Robert W. Dumas, chairman, president and CEO of AuburnBank and its parent company, Auburn National Bancorporation, Inc. “We always say that AuburnBank is about more than money, and we think it is fitting that Bitty & Beau’s is about more than a cup of coffee.”

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