New West Michigan Coffee Shop Employing People with Disabilities Opens This Month
A West Michigan, non-profit coffee shop that employs individuals with disabilities has set its opening day.
Coffee with a Purpose: Cafe Employing Youth with Special Needs to Open in Grand Haven
This is the third cafe to open with the Brody’s BE Cafe mission:
To provide a safe and enjoyable work environment for individuals with intellectual and developmental delays along with other special needs. To create a place of acceptance for all people in the community; a place to receive, and give back.
Kenzie’s BE Cafe will provide an opportunity for people with and without special needs to work together. This cafe will provide a place where everyone can come together to feel purpose, importance, and to realize that we aren’t all that different on the inside.
Another location, Maggie's BE Cafe, opened in Hudsonville in 2021.
Historic Grand Haven Theater Transformed into Coffeehouse
The new cafe is opening at the site of the historic Crescent Theater, which was built in 1928.
The folks behind Kenzie’s BE Cafe have worked with community members to restore the theater to its original beauty and bring new life to Grand Haven’s Washington Square neighborhood.
The coffeehouse occupies 1,885 square feet on the main floor of what was the lobby at the former Crescent Theater, according to The Lakeshore West Michigan.
The Inspiration Behind Kenzie's BE Cafe
Makenzie Aney, a 17-year-old Mona Shores High School student, is the inspiration for Kenzie’s BE Cafe, and the niece of founder founder, Erin Lyon.
According to a post to Facebook from the cafe, Makenzie is a cheerleader and a big sister to two little brothers. She was born 12 weeks premature with cerebral palsy.
She’s a strong, spunky kid. She’s the main reason I have put myself in the world of disabilities from the beginning.
Lyon says of the employees at Kenzie's BE Cafe,
They’re going to be pretty much running the show. Cashier, making the drinks, sweeping and the mopping, doing the dishes, greeting everybody. They’re going to be the ones serving the customers...
The goal would be that somebody else would walk into the café and say, ‘I want to hire your employees to work at my business because I see how well they do things here.' We’re hoping to have many more programs down the road that will have other job opportunities at businesses within or outside of our community that will increase their ability to get employment.
When Will Kenzie's BE Cafe Open?
Kenzie's BE Cafe is currently in its soft opening phase, open Monday through Friday 7:30am to 3:30pm. (Starting Nov. 12 they'll be open Saturdays too!)
The official opening day is November 14, 2022.
The new cafe will serve a variety of coffee drinks like latte, espresso, and cappuccino, plus iced tea, lemonade, smoothies, and other blended drinks. You'll also find a variety of baked goods like muffins, cookies, doughnuts, and scones.
Follow Kenzie's BE Cafe on Facebook for updates!