The coffee shop Red, White & Brew is run by Michael Coyne, who had been struggling to get a job due to his autism.
More often than not, people with disabilities are denied work, as many companies do not hire them. It was no different for Michael Coyne. Just like everyone else, he started to look for jobs when he turned 21, but with no success. Coyne, who has autism, decided to take charge of the situation and started a coffee shop by the name Red, White & Brew in North Smithfield, Rhode Island. The business is not just serving coffee but also a lesson in the importance of providing jobs to people with disabilities.
The entrepreneur's mother Sheila Coyne told ABC6 that it was difficult to watch her son struggle initially and suggested that he find an alternate job route. "It's not easy for parents to watch your kid sit around the kitchen table while everyone else is enjoying life and coworkers, and talking about their day," she said. Michael added, "After I turned 21 I applied to multiple places. None of them would hire me." But he wasn't going to take that lying down. He took classes in business through the state's Developmental Disabilities Council. And before he knew it, his coffee shop opened its doors to the public. “We’ve been very busy," said Coyne. “It’s been fun.”
The mission of the coffee shop is clear. Their social media bio reads: We are a family owned coffee shop serving up more than a cup of coffee. We employ people with developmental disabilities, encourage community engagement, and change the way the world sees those with disabilities. A dozen people have left warm reviews for Michael's coffee shop. One such reviewer is Ann-Marie Alexander. She wrote: We just left and I couldn't be more happy for Michael and his family! Michael gave my kids and I a tour and explained all the vendors merchandise! Super friendly and my iced coffee is amazing!! We will absolutely be back!! Congrats!!
It is reported, that the cafe is a great place for other families who have children with disabilities to come to. "We've had parents come in with tears in their eyes with the hope that their young children will eventually be accepted into the community," said Coyne's mother. That's not all. Just walk on over to the other side of the shop is a craft store called Budding Violet. Here you can buy homemade products, most of them created by artists with disabilities. Want to come by? Head to 601 Great Rd, North Smithfield, RI 02896. And the best part is that it's open 7 days a week.