By WRAL.com / Video series by Jill Knight / Story by Hannah Webster
Wilmington, N.C. — Amy and Ben Wright are the parents to four children. Their youngest children, 7-year-old Bitty and 12-year-old Beau, have Down syndrome. According to the couple, they “hit the jackpot twice” and are the luckiest parents in the world.
As advocates for the value, inclusion and celebration of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), the family now owns and operates Bitty & Beau’s Coffee in Wilmington.
At Bitty & Beau’s Coffee, “Diversity is not just accepted. It’s celebrated.”
“I was trying to think of a way to bring the community together and to help people with and without disabilities spend time together,” Amy Wright said in an interview with Southern Living.
The goal is to start a conversation about the value and inclusion of all people.
The coffee shop employs 40 people with IDD and has been recognized nationally for fighting the statistic that 70 percent of people with IDD nationwide are unemployed.
The North Carolina-based coffee ship is expanding and will open a second location in Charleston, South Carolina in fall of 2017.
“Charleston offers the same southern hospitality we’re accustomed to,” Wright said.