CARY, N.C. (WNCN) — Unemployment is a big problem for people with all kinds of disabilities, but one local coffee shop is looking to change that.
After co-founder Angie Hudson was declared legally blind, she struggled to find a job where she could thrive, which inspired her to open Esteamed Coffee in downtown Cary.
Five years ago, Hudson and her business partner first had the idea for this unique café, and in December 2020, it finally became a reality.
“We currently have 15 employees in our cafe that have intellectual and developmental disabilities, communication deficits, or vision impairments,” she says.
70% of people with disabilities are unemployed, and Esteamed Coffee is working to change that, because no matter what disability their employees have, they’re learning skills we all need for work.
“Learning how to get along with others and learning how to get along with the people you work with,” explains Chandler Meshwork, an employee at the café.
Seth Williams wrote a poem about his new job when he was hired, which is now on display at the café.
“I call my coworkers Coffee Mates, which is a play on words,” he says. “And right here at the bottom ‘my faith in humanity renewed’ which is talking about the present day and all the problems that we have.”
This might be Marisa Smith’s first job, but she knows how important it is for the community to get to know people with disabilities.
“It’s good to get out there into the world and for people to be exposed to that more often because it would be good for our workers and customers to get to know that kind of stuff,” she says.
And if you still need a reason to stop by, Seth says it best.
“We are all working our very best to get a smile on your face,” he says.
In addition to working in the café, Esteamed Coffee also displays and sells art from local disabled artists and takes part in the Cary farmer’s market. To learn more about Esteamed Coffee and other ways to support them, keep up with their social media and follow their website, which you can find here.