GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — Step in through the front doors, and it quickly becomes clear that A Special Blend, located on West Market Street in Greensboro, is more than just a coffee shop.
It’s a welcoming and friendly place where a group of adults, who are often overlooked by society, have an opportunity to be valued, capable and empowered.
“I think A Special Blend is life-changing for lots of people,” General Manager Bonnie Lovell said.
When A Special Blend opened in Nov. 2018, the non-profit coffee shop set out to employ adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Roughly 80 percent of them are unemployed.
According to Lovell, the goal of A Special Blend is to change that statistic, create a more inclusive community and provide a stepping stone for future employment.
“It’s really to give them foundational job experience, customer service, exposure and give them those capabilities to go out and get jobs elsewhere,” Lovell said.
A Special Blend is expanding and will soon impact even more lives by opening its second location on North Main Street in High Point.
The new coffee shop is set to open in October, and 36 team members have already been hired.
“We’ve got our original crew here in Greensboro that has all the experience, and they’ve gained customer service skills and have all of the skills of being a barista or a cashier, and they are training our team for High Point,” Lovell said. “It’s definitely come full circle.”
The coffee shop provides community in a cup where everyone is valued and has an important role.
“Come experience being a customer and seeing the atmosphere that we have and the capabilities of the team,” Lovell said. “We’re really hoping that employers can look at their own business and visualize how they can employ people with disabilities and give them opportunities because they’re completely capable.”
The coffee shop is still looking for shift managers and volunteers, affectionately called “Blend Friends,” for their new location in High Point.