Not Your Average Cup of Joe

The view outside Bitty & Beau’s (photo courtesy of Grace Samuelson)

Bitty & Beau’s isn’t just any coffee shop. Of course, it encompasses the aroma of coffee and quiet chatter that most coffee shops do, but it’s more than that.

Happy, smiling individuals sit behind the counter ready to take orders and hand out the playing cards used to call out when orders are ready.

It looks like a coffee shop, it functions like a regular coffee shop, but with the added aspect of employees with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Founder Amy Wright and her husband opened the original “Beau’s” coffee shop in Wilmington, N.C. in 2016. They named the shop after their son with Down Syndrome. It was later changed to “Bitty & Beau’s” when Beau wished for his sister’s name to be added for his twelfth birthday.

Bitty & Beau’s just opened their second store on Church Street in downtown Charleston this Valentine’s Day.

The wall highlighting Bitty & Beau’s story (photo courtesy of Grace Samuelson)

The coffee shop is all about creating a way for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to become more valued and accepted in the community.

When customers walk in they are greeted with warm smiles and nothing but positive vibes. Every employee loves working there and interacting with the customers.

“It’s a lot of work,” said Sam, one of the Charleston Bitty & Beau employees. “I really like what I’m doing though.”

CNN awarded Wright their hero award in 2017 for being an advocate for disabled workers. Her vision is coming true in Charleston the same way it did at the Wilmington location.

Bitty & Beau’s entrance (photo courtesy of Grace Samuelson)

Everything about the Bitty & Beau’s experience exceeds expectation. The service is great, the coffee is great, the constantly happy employees spread the joy with everyone who walks through the door.

Open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., a cup of coffee at Bitty & Beau’s is well worth it.

Bitty & Beau’s Coffee is intended to create a space where diversity is not just appreciated, but celebrated. “It’s more than just a coffee shop,” said one of the Wilmington employees, “it’s changing the way people see other people.”

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