A new café is aiming to give employment opportunities to people with disabilities.
Brody’s be Cafe, a coffee shop with a focus on training and employing people with intellectual disabilities, hosted a grand opening ribbon-cutting ceremony in Ada Village last week and is now open for business at 7267 Thornapple River Dr. SE.
Owner Jenny Cole founded Brody’s be Cafe as a nonprofit this past summer, with a mission to connect people with intellectual or developmental disabilities to meaningful employment. The café pairs teenagers and adults with special needs with peer coaches for training and support.
Cole is an English teacher at Lowell Middle School and mother of three children, including Brody, 12, who has Down syndrome and for whom the café is named.
“What appeared at first to be a very scary and sad time in my life has turned out to be one of my very best blessings,” Cole said. “Brody has taught me so much about compassion and acceptance of all of our abilities and disabilities. In God’s eyes, we are each special and we all have needs.”
To date, Brody’s be Cafe has hired 10 baristas, or “Be-Ristas,” who will work in the café and earn minimum wage. The café serves brewed coffee, hot and cold espresso drinks, nitro and cold brew coffee, as well as a selection of fine teas and smoothies.
Uncommon Coffee Roasters of Saugatuck provides the coffee.
Its regular hours are from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday.