AVON, Conn. (WTNH) — A popular eatery employing those with disabilities is in the middle of an exciting change.
“When you come here, it’s family,” said Lauren Masson, who has worked at BeanZ & Co. for five years. She’s now bracing for a significant change. “I think it will be nice to finally have a bigger space.”
“We never anticipated we’d be moving,” co-founder Noelle Alix said. “Our lease term was up.”
At first, she and her partner Kim Morrison weren’t sure what to do. They had founded the eatery, employing those of all abilities to employ their daughters, who both have Down syndrome. But then it grew, providing jobs to so many.
“BeanZ belongs to the community,” Alix said. “It’s not just Kim and I or our families.”
So, they’re taking the opportunity to grow and adapt. Now “everyone belongs” in a new spot full of possibilities.
“We have 5,000 square feet,” Morrison said as she strolled through the new space, not far from the existing location in Avon. Now under construction, it will allow for more tables and more jobs.
“This area, along with two areas on the other side, is just warm, cozy gathering spots,” Morrison said.
BeanZ can now host special events like showers and birthday parties. Like all parents of kids with special needs, Alix and Morrison are used to the journey, the ebb and flow of ups and downs. But now, it’s upward and onward.
“You can see the smile,” Morrison said. “It just feels so good here. We’re really happy.”
They need to raise $75,000 for a commercial kitchen. The community has already stepped up in just a few weeks, donating more than $66,000 as of Monday morning through GoFundMe.
Morrison and Alix are grateful and excited.
“It totally energized me and Kim to say, ‘This is absolutely the right thing we’re doing, and it’s time to go forward and make it bigger,'” Alix said.
The BeanZ crew is hoping to move the first week of July. We will, of course, keep you posted!