Coffee shop staffed by people with disabilities coming to Sarasota
SARASOTA - President and CEO of The Haven, Brad Jones, says 80% of people with disabilities are unemployed.
“That’s not acceptable for us as a society, so we have to do something about it," Jones said. "The Haven has always had that as a foreground for our mission, to employ people with disabilities.”
That mission will continue with Mojo Coffee Bar, staffed by people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
“Since The Haven already has a bakery and catering company, it was the perfect fit for us," Jones said.
Beaver Shriver of The Shriver Group is Mojo's founder. He says his family helped start Special Olympics and Best Buddies, and now he’s trying to lower that 80% statistic.
“I thought it was a crime and wanted to do something about that," Shriver said.
Mojo Coffee Bar will be inside The Mark, a condo building under construction in the heart of downtown Sarasota.
“We could've opened this on a side street in an alley, but I want it to be right in the forefront," Shriver said. "For too long differently-abled people have been put in the background, and I wanted it to be put in the front and highly visible.”
It'll give the staff a feeling of independence and productivity. It'll also benefit coffee lovers.
“Customers coming into the shop are gonna be interacting with people they maybe wouldn’t have before," Shriver said.
Jones says finding the baristas won’t be an issue.
“I have a lot of resumes coming my way from clients," Jones said, "so we don’t have a shortage of workforce for this project. We’re really excited.”
Shriver says he was inspired by a similar coffee shop called Bitty & Beau's that opened in 2016. He expects Mojo Coffee Bar to open within the next 9 months to a year, after The Mark is finished. Mojo Coffee Bar is still searching for additional investors.