Bitty & Beau’s Coffee was first opened in Wilmington, North Carolina by Amy Wright and her husband to promote inclusion by employing people with “intellectual and developmental disabilities.” Since founding the business in 2016, the Wrights have opened six Bitty & Beau’s Coffee locations, employing over 120 people with special needs!
Bitty & Beau’s: The Inspiration
The idea for Bitty & Beau’s Coffee was inspired by the Wrights’ two youngest children – Bitty & Beau – who have Down syndrome. Motivated by their love for their kids and their dreams of supporting and empowering people with disabilities, Mr. and Mrs. Wright decided to open a business that would offer opportunities for the special needs community, something that they noticed was drastically lacking in the US.
According to an interview with Southern Living, Amy explained, “There’s a statistic that somewhere between 70-85% of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities are unemployed- and we just think that’s an embarrassment to our country.”
And so their mission was born, in which they dedicated their lives to being advocates for the special needs community, “making the world a better place for their children and others living with disabilities.”
Bitty & Beau’s: The Journey
The original shop was founded as Beau’s Coffee in a “500 square foot space in Wilmington, NC.” Beau’s Coffee was “run by 19 employees with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”
A few months later, the shop was renamed Bitty & Beau’s Coffee, in honor of Beau’s birthday wish to include his little sister’s name in the title. By this time, they had grown enough to move into a larger space that currently serves as not only a coffee shop but also as the company’s headquarters.
The Wrights’ decided to expand their business in February 2018, opening a second location in Charleston, South Carolina. Shortly after, locations would sprout up in Savannah and Annapolis as well. And we’re happy to report that their success has not slowed down since, with multiple subsequent shops opening and more still set to open soon!
From employing just 19 people with disabilities upon opening their first location to employing over 120 presently, Bitty & Beau’s Coffee has come a long way on their mission toward promoting their values of inclusion and acceptance of the special needs community. And this is only the beginning! Their growth has been significant in a short period of time, and we’re so excited to see where their kindness takes them!