WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — In 2015, WWAY featured Amy Wright as the extraordinary person of the week. That led to a story about her husband, who employs people with special needs at his business.
In January of 2016, the family opened Beau’s Coffee Shop. Since then, the Wrights have expanded their business, doubling the staff and tripling the space. The Wright family then opened Bitty and Beau’s Coffee, which celebrated it’s first anniversary Wednesday afternoon.
Today, hundreds of people across the community came out to celebrate the shop’s anniversary. Among them was Mayor Bill Saffo, who had a big surprise: the key to the city.
“It’s super cool because it’s just so validating that what we’re doing here at Bitty & Beau’s Coffee is making a difference in our community,” Wright said.
The shop is changing not only the community’s perspective, but also the lives of its employees.
“Not a lot of people get to say their first job is part of history. So I think that’s what she gave me. I get to tell my children, my grandchildren, ‘Hey, you know that Bitty & Beau’s Coffee shop that’s around every corner? Your grandmother or mom was at that. She was the first part of the team,” employee, Jessie Guillaume said.
Jessie says Bitty & Beau’s is opening doors for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
“People see us at cute little puppies. No, it’s more. Like I have a job I’m a normal human being. And she’s trying to provide jobs to show the world that people with disabilities can work in the workforce like everyone else,” Guillaume said.
It is a milestone for the shop and possibly the key to opening endless opportunities.
“Do we want to see Bitty and Beau’s Coffee all over America? Yeah! That could be cool wouldn’t it,” Wright said.
Right now there is still no word on when the next Bitty & Beau’s will open, but Wright says there are definitely more surprises to come.