AVON, Conn. (WTNH) – At Beanz & Co., the slogan, “Everyone Belongs”, is truly meaningful to those who work there.
Beanz & Co. is a coffee shop and cafe in Avon. Three years ago, co-founders Noelle Alix and Kim Morrison founded their business so young adults with disabilities can work alongside typical peers.
“Kim and I have been friends for years. We both have daughters with Down syndrome,” said Alix. “We met when they were toddlers.”
Suddenly, the co-founders said, their toddlers had grown into their twenties and were leaving a transition academy aimed at helping young people with disabilities navigate the working world.
“We were talking about the whole process of aging out of the system, and it’s super scary, and it comes really fast,” said Morrison.
Morrison already had a business space at that time, the New England Pasta Company. Their daughters’ journey was what helped inspire the two women to open the adjacent eatery.
“It’s like a family here and it’s so much fun and I have fun every day,” said 27-year-old Nick Sinacori, who makes specialty drinks and works the cash register.
Morrison’s daughter, Megan, who doesn’t speak, uses sign language to easily communicate with her coworkers.
“She can train anyone on the computer, she loves people, she loves being here, she loves the staff,” said Morrison.
To the founders, it’s all about educating the public and other companies about the benefits of inclusive employment.
“We feel that there’s so much more outside of these four walls that has to happen and it has to happen now,” said Morrison.
The team at Beanz said they aim to consult with other businesses to encourage other employers to follow their lead.