A new coffee shop opened its doors this weekend in Melrose, Massachusetts, and tons of people turned out to support the local store and its important mission.
Bitty & Beau's Coffee is run by people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. According to its founders, the company is more than just a place to grab a cup of coffee.
The newest franchise owner said she was overwhelmed by how many people came to the grand opening Saturday, adding that she's just happy for the opportunities that this is bringing to all of the shop's employees.
"And it's all worth it when they're learning their jobs and they're feeling proud, and they have dignity, and they'll have independence, and they're recognized for all the gifts that they have," Maryanne O'Donnell said.
The company's goal is to create a path for people with disabilities to become more valued, accepted and included in their communities. Nationwide, over 80% of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are unemployed, according to Bitty & Beau's website.
The original location was opened by Amy and Ben Wright in Wilmington, North Carolina in 2016 as Beau's Coffee. It was later renamed Bitty & Beau's Coffee to include both of the couple's children that have Down syndrome.
The Wrights describe it as a "human rights movement disguised as a coffee shop."
There are now several locations across the country but the Boston suburb's shop is the first to open its doors in Massachusetts. It is located at 462 Main St. in Melrose and will be open daily from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.