Tuesday, June 28, 2022
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The Exceptional Bean Coffee Shop Have Goals Of Inclusion.

The main value that is driving the new Cookeville coffee shop The Exceptional Bean is inclusive.

General Manager Michael England said that they got the idea after he and his wife Cigi got involved with Ainsley’s Angels and the Styers family. He said they learned that even if someone wants to work there aren’t a lot of people willing to take a chance on individuals with special needs.

“So we thought, ‘Man what a really neat idea just to start a shop that looks like a coffee shop, but it’s more important than that,'” England said. “It’s a place where we can provide some employment opportunities to those with special needs.”

England said that he hopes he can create a place both of inclusiveness and of getting people out of their comfort zones. He said that they want to see the individuals come into their store and grow in the sureness of their abilities.

“It’s my goal to see someone come in and maybe at some point even manage the joint and open and close the place,” England said. “I want this to become their place. And at the same time, I want this to just be a place that’s very positive for everyone not just people with special needs. Before I got involved with Rising Above and Ainsley’s Angels, I didn’t have a whole lot of experience interacting with individuals with special needs and if you never do something, it can be uncomfortable at times. And the more I spent time with Bradley and his friends, you find out what an amazing group of people they are. How positive they are, they encourage one another.”

“They’re my favorite people, and I love spending time with them and I want every to see that. If you come to The Exceptional Bean, you’ll get to experience that and it’s going to be a really special place.”

England said that they are about to start the application process. He said that the goal is to employ about 20 to 30 individuals with special needs.

England said that as of now, they are hoping for an April 1st opening date. The coffee shop will be located 55 North Walnut Avenue across from the Leslie Town Centre.

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