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BItty & Beau's Coffee to open shop inside PPD

Star-News - 8/7/2019

Aug. 7--Bitty & Beau's Coffee announced plans to add a coffee shop downtown for Pharmaceutical Product Development employees in a special partnership with the company.

Founder Amy Wright said construction is already underway at PPD's downtown Wilmington building (929 N. Front St.) for a Bitty & Beau's location that will employ 20 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Wright hopes to be open by October, which happens to be Disability Employment Awareness month.

"As a supporter of the Able to Work program, employing individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, we are thrilled to partner with Bitty & Beau's on their new shop at our PPD headquarters," said PPD spokesperson Elizabeth Kuronen. "PPD's employees, clients and corporate guests will be excited to welcome Bitty & Beau's to our building later this year."

The shop will not be open to the public and will be a smaller model than the coffee shop's existing locations, but Wright hopes the partnership will spark global change.

"Our hope is that other big businesses will see this model too and perhaps work alongside us to do something similar, because we feel like in order to really change that 80 percent unemployment rate for people with disabilities, we have to get big business on board," Wright said. "We can't create enough coffee shops to change that, but we can for partnerships like this one to serve as an example of what can be done."

Bitty & Beau's opened in Wilmington in 2016 when Amy Wright wanted to help change the negative statistics surrounding people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and unemployment. She named the coffee shop after her two children with down syndrome, daughter Bitty and son Beau. The coffee shop went on to get national attention with appearances on morning talk shows, namely "The Rachel Ray Show" which now uses Bitty & Beau's Coffee in an official capacity for the show. Subsequent locations have opened in Savannah, Georgia, Charelston, South Carolina and an Annapolis, Maryland shop is expected to open this year.

Reporter Ashley Morris can be reached at 910-343-2096 or Ashley.Morrs@StarNewsOnline.com.

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(c)2019 the Star-News (Wilmington, N.C.)

Visit the Star-News (Wilmington, N.C.) at www.starnewsonline.com

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