Happy Brew

Servers+at+the+Happy+Brew+Happy+Hour+Fundraiser+on+October+20th.+%0ACredit%3A+Amy+Franks

Servers at the Happy Brew Happy Hour Fundraiser on October 20th. Credit: Amy Franks

Happy Brew, a non-profit coffee shop hopes to “create community” by employing people with “different kinds of abilities.”

The director of the project, Amy Franks, has been working on the endeavor since fall of 2019 when the idea came about.

Her church, Southside Methodist, started a program called The Missing Voices Project that tried to reach out to those with intellectual and developmental differences. Through this project, Franks and her colleagues realized that many of these students with different abilities did not have support after high school. So the question came up, “how do we create community so that everyone can befriend them?”

To answer this question they started with creating a non-profit. They filed for a 501c3 which established them as a non-profit coffee shop and set out to fundraise. They chose a coffee shop because “coffee shops are kind of where community is,” Franks said.

Their community is located just past San Marco and is currently being constructed to feature an open environment with room for collaboration. So far, Bitty and Beau as well as Southern Grounds has helped Happy Brew get its footing and plan its opening.

They plan to hire an occupational therapist to assess the employees and their abilities to make sure “their job is set for their ability” and everyone enjoys their work. The design of the shop includes all accommodations like automatic doors, wheelchair accessible bathrooms, and an adult changing table so “it’s not your typical coffee shop, it’s really for everyone,” Franks said.

“It’s not about the coffee or selling the coffee, it’s about how many lives we can change.”

— Amy Franks

The goal is to open multiple locations, but right now the team has all of their efforts focused on getting their first one off the ground. They are well on their way to raising enough money but still need some contributions, anything helps!

Contributions aren’t just monetary though, students can also get involved by just being open-minded and willing to talk to others and make friends. The awareness factor is the most important because “each ability is different and just because someone has different abilities, it doesn’t mean they can’t do the same things,” Franks said.

The idea is to connect over food and conversation. To facilitate the effort, their menu will include pastries, bread, and coffee, specifically, affogatos (an espresso shot over vanilla ice cream).

But really, “It’s not about the coffee or selling the coffee, it’s about how many lives we can change.”