T.H.I.N.K. Serves Coffee With the Help of People With Special Needs
July 1 - 2021
Coffee Geography Magazine
A coffee shop in Conway is serving up brewed beverages with side of inclusion.
T.H.I.N.K Coffee owners John and Jo Keith offer employment to young adults with special needs.
The Keiths have a 13-year-old son with Cerebral Palsy, and they said when they opened their doors to T.H.I.N.K Coffee, they also wanted to open their arms to all potential employees.
“They can work and have a job and be a part of society just as much as you and I can,” Jo Keith said.
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21-year-old Bethany Davis is one of their employees. Davis is on the spectrum for autism and said it took her two years to find a job before stepping in the doors of T.H.I.N.K Coffee.
“I actually like to get up super early just to come to work,” Davis said, “It’s the best thing ever to me.”
These special needs adults work for a few hours a week at the coffee shop.
John Keith said it gives them an opportunity to fit in and have a routine.
“We take for granted just getting up in the morning and being able to go to a 9-5 but the facts are, not everyone has that opportunity,” Keith said.
The business opened in 2018 and a new storefront was added in February, but the Keith’s said normalcy is important now more than ever.
“[At the beginning of the pandemic] we were told to not connect face to face for so long and really what you see is a lack of social skills,” John Keith said.
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T.H.I.N.K Coffee currently employs two adults with special needs but said they are keeping their doors open to new applications.
The couple also works to provide information to resources for families with special needs children.