What do you get when you take a loving family, some national recognition, a CNN Hero of the Year and a mission?
You get a new coffee shop in downtown Savannah where everyone is welcome.
Just off of Franklin Square there is something unique brewing inside the Hostess City’s newest coffee shop.
“The coffee shop here is the best coffee,” said Chris Holt who is employed at Bitty and Beau’s Coffee.
Holt is one of the new faces training for Saturday’s opening day.
But, when it comes to coffee shops, this place is in a class all its own.
“This is definitely a labor of love,” said Bitty and Beau’s founder Amy Wright.
Wright and her husband have four children. Two of them, Bitty and Beau, were born with Down syndrome.
“When you become the parent of a child with special needs you start thinking ahead and what does their future look like,” Wright said.
That’s what brought this idea to life.
“When we opened the first shop we said it doesn’t matter how the community responds. We’re doing this because it’s the right thing to do,” Wright told WSAV News 3.
The first Bitty and Beau’s opened in 2016 in North Carolina. Savannah is now home to their third edition.
Since then, the shop has garnered national recognition, and founder Amy Wright was named CNN’s Hero of the Year in 2017.
“Before I started working here I was feeling a bit negative because most people knew I had a disability. They treated me differently. But, when I got here I was welcomed,” said Bitty and Beau’s employee Kenneth Thomas. “It makes me feel like I have a new family.”
Each Bitty and Beau’s story is built on a simple idea – to give those with disabilities a chance and a place to feel at home, a place to be included and a place to be accepted.
“Other people never give us any chance to work anywhere and it feels amazing that we finally found somewhere where we belong. It feels amazing,” said Bitty and Beau’s employee Darian Gay.
That’s exactly why it’s about more than a cup of coffee at Bitty and Beau’s. The three locations now employ a total of about 80 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
“I want every customer who walks out of here to maybe see people with disabilities a little differently,” Wright said.
Bitty and Beau’s opens its doors Saturday morning with a grand opening ribbon cutting at 10 a.m. The store is located at 319 W. Congress Street near Franklin Square in downtown Savannah.