05 August 2016

Bitty & Beau's Coffee

"Bitty & Beau's is more than just a place to grab a cup of coffee - it's an experience."

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My parents have spent a good chunk of the summer preparing to move to Germany for my dad's job when in true government fashion, their timeline was abruptly changed. The kids and I promptly purchased plane tickets and 48 hours later were happily situated on my parent's couch in North Carolina.

We are back home in Arizona now but oh so thankful to have been able to spend a few weeks with them before being continents apart.

They live in the Raleigh area of North Carolina, a place I seriously LOVE! The amenities there are insane, particularly for the kids. We had an activity scheduled most days and didn't even scratch the surface. Seriously such a great place to live!

Anyway, we managed to squeeze in an overnight trip to the beach! Wilmington, NC is just a couple of hours away so it was totally doable with the kids. One of my sisters actually graduated from UNC-Wilmington so we were lucky to have a built in tour guide.

I will share the actual beach part of the trip in separate post (total highlight for Mallory and Mike) because today I want to focus on what is arguably the coolest thing about Wilmington, Bitty & Beau's Coffee.

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I know my sister had told me about Bitty & Beau's Coffee before but well, my sister can T-A-L-K, so frequently the details get lost in our exchanges. ;) [Love you Becca!] When she suggested stopping by their new shop before heading out of town, the answer was an easy "yes."

A majority of the employees at Bitty & Beau's have intellectual and physical disabilities. When my sister told me about this, we hadn't even stepped foot inside, but I knew this was going to be someplace extra special.

I will keep the personal, emotional connection brief and simply tell you that my sister is a special education teacher who works primarily with younger children who have the most severe and profound disabilities. Seeing my sister beam with love and pride in Bitty & Beau's is an experience on it's own. Talk about someone who has truly found their calling...

When I first walked into the shop, I couldn't help but notice how awesome it looks! Seriously, their clean, black/white aesthetic is right up my alley and there is plenty of seating--good thing because that place was busy! Filled to the brim with people in the best kind of way. Everyone, was radiating the most infections kind of joy!

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I had the pleasure of chatting with Matt (seen in this news story) while he assisted me in putting Arizona on their map of visitors!

We ordered our drinks (which were delicious, but totally an afterthought for me) and found a table. For nearly an hour we sat, soaking in the ambiance and watching the kids play. My sister took this time to explain what she knew of Bitty & Beau's story (great videos on that here and here) which sparked the most inspiring and enlightening conversation...

My sister was explaining that one of the ways this coffee shop is so extraordinary is that by offering jobs to individuals with disabilities they are providing the best kind of environment to teach life skills and independence. "Achieving the greatest level of independence an individual is capable of is kind of the ultimate goal among special educators" she said.  I, without really thinking chuckled and said "or the ultimate goal of any parent!" As those words fell out of my mouth, the entire purpose of Bitty & Beau's hit me like a ton of bricks...

Really and truly we aren't all that different from one another.

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Thank you to Bitty & Beau's for such a remarkable experience and obviously, you've accomplished your mission in this customer!

Be sure to follow Bitty & Beau's Coffee on Facebook and Instagram.

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