Independent Grounds Cafe: Intellectual and Developmental Disability Hiring with Lorna Heid

Episode 21 July 26, 2020 00:47:03
Independent Grounds Cafe: Intellectual and Developmental Disability Hiring with Lorna Heid
Freewheelin with Carden
Independent Grounds Cafe: Intellectual and Developmental Disability Hiring with Lorna Heid
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Independent Grounds Cafe: Intellectual and Developmental Disability Hiring with Lorna Heid led by host Carden Wyckoff

Transcript: https://rb.gy/dsmaer

What is Independent Grounds Cafe?

Resources:

Special thanks to my producer Jonathan Raz on Fiverr

Episode image is 9 squares of smiling employees wearing coffee shop aprons. In the middle text 'Coffee for a Cause'.

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 1 00:00:04 Independent grounds. Cafe is an inclusive coffee shop based in the Metro Atlanta area founded in 2018. That is employed by individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. More than 75% of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities are unemployed and many find themselves unable to fully showcase their abilities owner, Lorna hide, wanting to break this hurdle and solve the need. When her own daughter, Emma, who suffered a traumatic brain injury after contracting meningitis at birth, what eventually faced obstacles, finding a job in adulthood, their mission is not only to enjoy a wonderful cup of coffee, but inspire you to think differently about the world of special needs while the doors are currently closed due to COVID. You can buy coffee, beans, or merge and give on the virtual tip jar on their website, independent grounds cafe.com. Now for the episode, Speaker 0 00:00:59 Welcome to and with carton, this podcast shares stories of people with various disabilities and shines a new light on accessibility topics. Our goal is to knock down barriers so we can roll through life a little easier and build a community to do this together. Please rate and follow this podcast or text card at (470) 588-1215. With comments and suggestions. We welcome you on your journey towards inclusion for all. And now your host Carden Wyckoff global disability advocate and wheelchair warrior. Speaker 1 00:01:32 Welcome to another episode of freewill and with carton. I have Lorna Hyde here joining me virtually who is the founder and creator of independent grounds coffee, a local coffee shop. That's a disability owned business. Hi Lorna. How are you? I'm doing well. Thanks for having me. Yeah. Thank you. And happy 4th of July. Have you had a, a nice weekend? I know it was kind of weird, kind of weird with coronavirus and I know just like the fireworks in general, just there, weren't a lot of shows that were put on. Cause I know a lot of people don't generally, I mean a lot of people go to those events, so they're trying to limit that. Um, yeah. All for good reasons. So tell me a little bit about the inspiration behind independence, ground coffee and where it's located and how people can come and get some coffee. So it's started sort of as an idea, my oldest daughter, Emma she's 19. Now she had meningitis when she was two days old. So she suffered, um, traumatic brain injury, developmental delays, things called a Praxia. And so she had a rough start, but we did all the early interventions for her when she was an infant. And then she's been in special Speaker 2 00:03:00 Education at the schools and the schools provide a great resource while your child is of school age. But once they graduate from high school, you sort of face, which is called the kind of the cliff where if your child has some like, has some needs that require you to be more at home, you may end up being at home with your kid for the rest of your life, or if they have mild or needs it's what do they do? How do you connect them in the community and how do you figure out what their, what they want to do and what their goals might be. So, you know, part of the role of parent I've always heard was to, you know, raise up your child to be able to go out and be productive members of society, which is the same when you have a special needs child, there's just challenges along the way. Speaker 2 00:03:58 And a lot of that has to do with awareness and accessibility and all sorts of things. But a friend of mine had mentioned, she also has a daughter or special needs that they were thinking of getting like a franchise, like a Jimmy John's franchise so that their daughter would always have a place to work. And I was like, that's a great idea. Actually. I'd never thought about that. Like having your own career that is also specific to your child's needs. And so I started seeing at the same time, other businesses on Facebook that hire specifically hired people with special needs. And there was a, a carwash down in Florida, they had a son with autism and just the rope wiping down of card, which might seem boring. Someone else there, their son actually thrived at. And so they hired some of his peers and it ended up being like a thing that people wanted to come to their business because they were employing these, these kids with special needs who paid, paid a great detail to getting their cars all clean and shiny at the end. So cool. And that's part of, kind of the autism that, that goes along with autism in a lot of different ways. So then there was a coffee shop in Wilmington, North Carolina, that I saw that they had two children with downs syndrome leading in those in Wilmington, North Carolina. And they had, they were specifically hiring adults with special needs and I've always loved a good coffee shop. Uh, spent a lot of time in college post-college in various coffee shops. Speaker 1 00:05:46 No, it resonated. It definitely really like Jimmy John's or coffee. Speaker 2 00:05:51 Um, and at my daughter's school, their first period class was they ran a coffee shop at the school that they made and then delivered the drinks around the school to teachers and students. So I knew there was already like a connection there. So I started researching how to, how to open a coffee shop. And despite all the many, many, many ways that said don't do it, it's a horrible idea. Not that it's a horrible idea. It's just, it's tougher than people think there's a lot that goes into it. And it takes a while, especially as an independent to launch and be successful with any small business startup. But I also just, I dunno, it came at the right time. I went to bitty and Beau's and sort of watched them for a day and realized it was, it was something that I thought was doable and I saw already new sibling or peers of my daughter that I thought would be good employees. Speaker 2 00:07:01 And so I just kind of went for it. And so we opened a location in Kennesaw, Georgia, and initially hired about 10 or 12 employees, eight to nine of them that had special needs and just tried to, to do what we could for them to be able to show what they could do. And it, it went, it went really well and it, it was quite awesome to see as the employees and we had employees with cerebral palsy down syndrome, autism, spectrum belt, mental delays, different disorders that they once given the opportunity to shine, they just take it off. And they, um, it was great to see how the public related to them and how their confidence grew as their, as they saw what they could do to. Speaker 1 00:08:02 Wow. What a great story just to starting from this idea, you solve the problem of your own specific daughter, seeing her future in front of her and thinking about, you know, what's, what is it going to be like for her 15 years down the road? And it is difficult for especially individuals with special needs to find a job and to have that be longterm. I know it's getting better and better with like workforce development programs. More corporations are becoming more aware of that and are hiring individuals with disabilities for specific programs. And, but still we have a long way to go. So I like how you, you turned automatically into problem solving mode and was like, well, I can either not do anything or do something about it. And you chose to do that and create a great coffee shop. What were some of those, um, inspiration points behind Vinnie and bows that you saw that kind of like made you turn that idea and to be like, yes, this is it's really doable. Speaker 2 00:09:13 So when I went and just saw how they, they took in the orders and how they just kind of like the process of taking the order, giving the order to another employee and then having a third employee sort of deliver the, the order. I saw all that as being very doable. Nice. And then there was, uh, there was one guy that was working that he, he seems like he would just be very good behind the counter. Like he had been making the drinks for, for a while. And then he came out from behind the bar and he started going from table to table and was like asking them, you know, how, how was everything, you know, full service? And I, and I could tell, like, that was probably something that he had to be coached on for a little while, but he, I was just like, dang, that's cool too, like Speaker 1 00:10:13 Extra level of service when you step outside behind the counter and talk to guests and ask how they're doing. Speaker 2 00:10:21 So, you know, for, for a parent of a special needs child, seeing that level of not, not just being in a backroom or not just rolling silverware or pushing carts around, but like actually interacting with the customers. And that's like a daily part of his job. I was like, yeah, that's something I need to like, make sure that we promote as well. Cool. So we ended up doing mostly having our employees that might not have had the ability to full on make drinks or run the register to be like the deliver of drinks. So once somebody ordered, we would let them know that we'd bring it out to them and then they would go take it to them and make sure that they had a straw or make sure they had a napkin and that built confidence, um, and also gave them a chance to interact with guests, which we just kind of furthers the message of, of what we're trying to do, which is letting people experience something that they might not understand. But once they see it in action or like, Oh yeah, like this is, this is just like normal, only, um, has like the best smile and the best attitude and wants to talk to you. And aren't just, you know, rolling their eyes and trying to get you out the door. Right. Sometimes you get a fast food restaurants or anything in the service industry right now. So, right. And I think it's it's would you say that, Speaker 1 00:12:02 That your business from order to delivery, is it faster or slower or generally the same pace? Because I know, especially with coffee, you got some hangry customers that want their coffee at, you know, 6:00 AM in the morning. How has their reaction men knowing that it may or may not be safe? Speaker 2 00:12:21 It's been mostly positive. The one, the, I mean, depending on how complicated the drink is, if you order a really complicated drink, I think, you know that it's going to take a little bit longer than just, yeah, I'm a black coffee, black coffee, you're going to get it. But if you do like half half with three flavors and all one milk, it's going to be a little different. And it took us, you know, sometimes it took us a little bit longer, but I think people knew that and understood it where we had some difficulty. It sometimes was at the register. He did everything on a square, but still there was a, and usually the cashier had was on the autism spectrum. Cause they would be a little more higher functioning, a little more into math, little more able to make change. But sometimes that would be a little bit slower process. Speaker 2 00:13:17 And I had some people that got a little bit upset with that process. But once you explained to them, listen, this employee has autism. Let me, you know, hurry this along for you. Or, you know, let me offer you a free drink. Then they would get it. Some people are so busy and into their own world, they don't notice necessarily that there is current happening in front of them. So that those were opportunities also to just have the customer slow down and see, Oh, this is, this is different. This person isn't just slow because they're lazy. This is like a actual like process. So that helped. Um, and in any business, someone wants something very specifically, very quickly. They can always go someplace else. Sure. So Speaker 1 00:14:11 Yeah, there's a Starbucks on every other corner or Dunkin donuts, right? Like if you really want, if you're trying to come in, in and out in less than 30 seconds, like you can go somewhere else. You're coming here for the experience. And also knowing that there is a business out there doing good for the world and employing others that may not necessarily be able to get a job, which is really awesome. So you'd say in general, um, your customers are very receptive to people with disabilities. Do you feel like their minds or perceptions have changed the way they interact with your Speaker 2 00:14:52 Employees? I think, yeah. I think, you know, my generation, which I'm in my fifties, I hate to say that. But, um, you know, I, I think most everyone knows either someone that has autism or a family member has autism, like that has become so prevalent. Um, but they still not, may not still be around it. They just know like there's an abundance of autism disorders, um, to then see it in practice. I think it becomes less scary and it becomes like, Oh, well this, like once you see the smile of a kid with down syndrome, that is so happy to bring you a drink and wants to ask you how your day is. Like, I think those things are infectious and other people may not have that experience because they haven't had that opportunity before, but we're trying to provide that opportunity as just being part of a normal day. And I think those will become more and more, but it's still, there's still just a lot of things. Hoops. You have to jump through to get jobs for, um, the disabled community. So. Sure. And Speaker 1 00:16:16 So you were talking a little bit about which I thought was interesting. You said someone is a little bit more high functioning, but has autism you'd put them on the cash register and then someone else somewhere else. Can you talk a little bit more about that strategy? Speaker 2 00:16:30 Yeah. So I let everyone try everything because I'd be like, you're limited to just wiping tables or your, you know, we hire them to let them do a lot of things. And so drew who you've met was wanting to be a cashier and that's all he wanted to be was just a cashier. And he's great. He's awesome. Super talkative and loves Santa rags Speaker 1 00:17:03 About drains with you all day long, Speaker 2 00:17:06 But he did not want to make drinks. He just wanted to, you know, but the longer he worked there, the more he started making drinks and then he started, you know, he would remake the coffee when we needed a fresh coffee grounds and started brewing. And it got to the point where he was able to open for me, he was my opener. So I'll get there, you know, 20 minutes before even I would get all the machines going get the coffee brewing. And so I just saw that, you know, as he got used to the idea and saw, Oh, I can do this too. He really sort of took ownership of it. Um, and so that was great to see. Um, and some of the, uh, some of the other employees as well, they would try the cash register and realize, you know, that's a little stressful, it's a lot, that's a lot. Um, so I actually liked delivering drinks, like, so they would be more of a deliverer person, but that was something that at least we gave him the opportunity to see so that we weren't just saying, no, you can't do that. We kind of let them, uh, at least have the option of trying it out and seeing how it went, but people kind of naturally go into roles. Yeah. Speaker 1 00:18:32 Say you kind of just like, like what you, like, I found that when I worked in fast food, you know, they allowed us to try everything and I was like, I like the window or, you know, I don't really like cooking food. It's not my forte. So yeah. I really like how you chose that model instead of just saying, okay, you're autistic. So you're probably high functioning. We'll put you on the cash register or, Oh, maybe you have low dexterity. Maybe we shouldn't be handling drinks. You'll be, you know, interacting with guests. I don't know. So yeah, that's really important. I think that would be good advice for corporations as well, because as we continue to build this inclusive world, especially in the hiring, in hiring for corporations, what are some of those other things that you would recommend to businesses, what to look for and how to place them? Speaker 2 00:19:21 I think like this just stats are like 70% of adults with special needs, um, or intellectual and developmental disabilities are either underemployed or unemployed. And I think a lot of that is the interview process. Um, the stress that you or I would go through just to go to a job interview is like a hundred times more for someone with special needs. Um, and to be asked direct questions, direct eye contact, being able to focus, having to write things down on an application, all of that is going to be stressful. Um, and so you kind of have to give them a little bit more grace, um, in that process. And, um, like I realized in working with, um, the, it was typically guys on the autism spectrum. Like they see things very black and white. So if they're scheduled from 10 to two, they're there at 10 and they leave it to, um, they wouldn't necessarily take up cues that, Hey, we're kind of busy right now. Speaker 2 00:20:39 So maybe I need to stay a little bit longer or, Hey, we're really, really slow right now. Laura might ask me to leave a little bit earlier. Like both of those scenarios did not go over well, the first time I, um, and I realized that it was more my issue that I needed to give them more of a heads up that this might happen or really think about how I was scheduling them. So if I knew we had a group coming in to schedule them a little bit longer so that they didn't have to stress about, well, I'm supposed to leave at two it's two 15, like yeah, that's going on. Um, and so, and if they got up and left it to you, they weren't being rude or being like disrespectful. It was just, you had me on the schedule till two. So I'm not going to, you know, for corporations, like if they're doing coding or they're doing, you know, situations where they don't necessarily have to have the personal cues of interacting with people, they still may mean cues of, Hey, if something goes wrong, we might need to stay a little bit longer or Hey, it's okay. Speaker 2 00:22:00 If you head out early, if you're done with your work for the day, just make sure you check in with somebody, they love a procedure, but they might, they might need some time to like work up to that procedure. Um, but once they get it, it, they got it and are enthusiastic about it. Um, one of the things that I've really noticed was just how much they loved being at work and how much they look forward to it and how meaningful it was for them. Um, with, in companies I would think would love that, um, just to have employees that they don't need to retrain, that they may spend a little bit more time on the front end, getting them in, getting them settled and getting them, um, trained. But in the longterm, they're not gonna just up and quit on you two days later. Speaker 2 00:22:59 Um, they're going to keep trying, um, and keep, uh, keep reaching goals that you set for them. So I think that's really important for, um, companies to, to realize that the front end, they may need a job coach there and it may take a little bit longer, but on the backend they'll have an employee that'll probably be loyal for life. So, you know, if it's the right fit, right. If it's the right fit and you know, sometimes it's sometimes it just doesn't work. And that's, you know, like with any, any employee in any job situation, just because someone has special needs does not mean that they can't be fired or that it's not the right fit and that they sure wouldn't be better off doing something else somewhere else. Um, and that's an issue. Parents also have to be brought in on to understand, um, they are so happy that their child has a job that they may not see that it's not working. Um, and so, uh, that sometimes if it's not working for the employee or the employer, it's just not a good fit, it's better to just let them know and get them onto another opportunity. So Speaker 1 00:24:24 How do you approach that conversation for someone say, who is autistic and sees black and white? How does that conversation go down? Speaker 2 00:24:34 Yeah. And, um, some it's, you have to be very black and white with them too. Like, listen, this is the job. I don't know that this is working out. Um, and here are the reasons why, you know, what are your thoughts? Um, and you know, this may not be the right place for you, but there are other places that, and there are other places that might be better suited for you. Um, and those aren't easy conversations, but there, you know, I had a, an employee with down syndrome that he was just very touchy with the, with the girls. Um, and we talked about it several times, talked to his parents about it, um, so that they could kind of coach him at home. It just was not getting any better. Um, and so we had to let him go and, um, his parents were prepared for that. Speaker 2 00:25:42 And I think it's an issue they've, you know, they were hoping that we wouldn't have to deal with at work, but it's something that they dealt with previously. So they weren't that surprised. Um, but those are things in a workplace, you know, hugs are okay, but like continuous hugs that happened over and over and over again, that interview not so much so sure. You know, there's, there's still HR standards, um, that everyone needs to sort of follow. Um, and so, you know, if we're giving equal opportunity, there's also equal chances, um, that what you're doing is not correct, and you might need to go elsewhere. So Speaker 1 00:26:29 You have an idea generally of what maybe they would be better for just seeing what they can and can't do. And do you recommend, I need additional places. Is there like a network of disability owned businesses that you guys talk to each other? Speaker 2 00:26:44 They're starting to be more, um, businesses like that. Um, there are like job training, um, uh, organizations out there. So yeah, I would like send them to, you know, here's, here's some other resources, um, and also in getting to know your child, um, you know, they might be better at something that's less social or something. That's more social. Um, I had one employee that had an issue with food and I didn't realize how actually dangerous his issue with food was Speaker 1 00:27:28 Like allergy wise. Or Speaker 2 00:27:30 He had like, um, a condition where he could just eat too much. Oh, okay. And I thought that we just needed to kind of keep an eye on him. I didn't realize that there was actual, like, that was more of a temptation for him than what I was aware of. And so I, you know, strongly suggested that he not work. Um, this is the head food. Sure. Take that temptation away from him. Um, so there's, you know, there's, there's an employee. Um, you met him to Brian, he has autism and he is a talker and some people aren't into that. I loved Brian. Um, but I also knew there their times too, I would tell him, I'm like, Brian, we need to bring it down a little or Brian, we need to like, like I need, I need it to be quiet for a little, or we got a rush right now. So let's just focus on what we're doing. He takes, he took redirection very well. Um, and I think he's a great employee, but he may not be for everyone. Um, just because he likes to talk. Um, but that there's lots of employees. I'm sure like that out there as well. So you just gotta find the right mix. Speaker 1 00:28:57 He'd be better suited for maybe a customer, like out in front of the customers, or do you think it's still too much, Speaker 2 00:29:06 He actually preferred talking, um, or being out with the customers. Um, and for whatever reason, like the little old ladies loved him, Speaker 1 00:29:18 I'm sure. And I think because they don't have people to talk to. Speaker 2 00:29:22 So, um, but I know he had had jobs in the past where he was just in the back room by himself rolling still four. And he hated that. So, um, you know, that he needs some social, but he also needed a manager that could reign that in when it was not appropriate. So, um, and that's just, that's just being, you know, managing your employees well, so yeah. Yeah. Speaker 1 00:29:51 Speaking about management, how do you approach management and how to some, it sounds like most of your employees take a redirection. Well, maybe some others don't what advice would you give? Speaker 2 00:30:05 Yeah, like I, um, a lot of mine is just gut instinct. I, um, and I think it comes from being a special needs, mom that, you know, you can see when the stress is kind of, uh, gonna make someone who typically does well, not like need a break. Um, and I have learned that being direct and saying, Hey, why don't you, um, why don't you go wait tables right now? Or why don't we just deliver drinks right now? Cause there's, there's a line or, um, why don't we do some sticker placement on, um, the coffee sleeves, just giving them a moment to sort of regroup. Um, there's often all that Speaker 1 00:31:02 Changing what they're currently doing to something else. Speaker 2 00:31:04 Yep. Okay. And that, I mean, that's sort of like a parent mode too, is you learn redirection a lot. Um, cause they can get stuck and if they get stuck on something that's not productive for too long, you get a tantrum or a freakout and nobody likes those. So, um, and I, I try to treat people the way I would like to be treated. Um, and I try to treat my employees where I would want my child to be treated. So, you know, just having, um, those like moments of grace and understanding, but also, you know, everybody has a bad day. I, I, you know, I'm not perfect every day. Um, and just sort of just trying to move through it and learn from the situation do you need to learn from, and, um, have fun where you can have fun, you know, it's time to have a little dance party, have a little dance party. Um, those things can, um, brighten everybody's day. So, Speaker 1 00:32:18 And yeah, I love that. I think, yeah. I mean showing if anyone's mood, dance party is the way to do it, put on some music and celebrate also if it's, especially if it's a high rush hour, you can, you know, have a dance party. Maybe not everyone wants to do that, but, um, just other ways to instill encouragement and celebration. Um, so talking more specifically about your brick and mortar building that idea, how long did it take to go from the idea to an actual shop that you had run? Speaker 2 00:32:53 It took probably nine months. That was fast, which, yeah, I think that is fast. Um, I, before I did anything, I did, I created my LLC and sort of did the things that you need to do to have a corporation, um, set up. So it's ready once you have a brick and mortar. Um, and then I had a location in mind and it was available, um, but still negotiating a lease and then having to figure out the things that the health department requires, um, and then getting all the plumbing and the electrical, like all of those things take 10 times longer than you think that they should take, um, and are way more expensive than you think that they should be. Um, so I think I signed the lease in November, but we didn't take possession until like February and then, um, kind of opened the doors for a soft open in March and, um, did our grand opening in April. So, um, it's just, I'm, I don't know when I see something in my head, I just want to do it. And so I just worked towards that goal of getting it open. Um, it's good to have that drive Speaker 1 00:34:20 The name, come from independent grounds Speaker 2 00:34:22 Coffee. Um, so I wanted some sort of like coffee play. I mean, there's so many, um, Java cafe, you know, um, and, but I also, I wanted to also play of the independence in that we were an independent coffee shop, so were weren't Starbucks or Dunkin. And, um, it, the independence that it represented for my employees, that this is a chance for them to gain some independence. Um, and so that just, um, that just kind of came together. And then I did like a, a trademark search and, uh, you know, I searched for website names and independent grounds, um, was not used out there. So I grab the, um, grabbed the, the website and, um, you know, started working on getting a logo and all of that. So what makes your coffee special? Speaker 1 00:35:31 The love that you've poured into it with all your individuals that help make. Speaker 2 00:35:35 Okay. So I knew I wanted a local roaster. Um, there was a lot of, uh, like there's a lot of national, um, brands of coffee that do sort of terrible work, but I've really kind of wanted everything to be like sustaining something local, um, cause I wanted people to sustain us locally. So, um, found in coffee is a very, like, it's like precious on some level, it's like wine to a lot of people. There's a tamper and like temperature and, um, I've found, um, a guy rev coffee down in Smyrna, Georgia who was willing to explain all that to me and let me taste it and let me kind of experiment with it and explain the process and, um, was so enthusiastic about helping us that, um, it, it just seemed a natural fit. So we had coffee that was beans that were roasted weekly, um, ground fresh for every batch, um, and espresso beans that, uh, were the same that were roasted and weekly and fresh. And, um, we really cared that the drink was as special as the experience. Speaker 1 00:37:03 Nice. And so I know you guys found that you had a few locations, right. Or you moved locations, Speaker 2 00:37:12 We move locations to Roswell. And then, um, when Corona hit, we, we shut down for the Corona. Um, cause initially that the back in March when everything was kind of came to a screeching halt, um, and everyone was sheltering at home, um, with a purpose to stay home, um, we shut down and my intention was to, um, to be closed until it was feasible to be open again, or until schools went back in session. Um, we've, since the churches decided to go in another direction, we were, um, partnership with the Roswell United Methodist church. So we've lost that location. Um, and so I'm now in the process of looking for a new location, um okay. Which is hard in the middle of this coronal crisis that we're in, um, opening a business when so many are closing is seems counterintuitive. Um, and a lot of the unknowns are still unknown. Um, so I'm being cautious about it, but I know it's something that I want to either have open in the fall or the winter, um, because it's, it's important enough and needed enough that, um, even if we have to kind of make things a little bit different than a place you come in and sit for hours at a time it's still a business that, um, I think people need and my employees definitely need. So we're working on that. Speaker 1 00:39:02 And what was it like to, obviously you had to let the team know that you were closing the doors, shutting down the business. Did they take that lightly? Did they understand? Speaker 2 00:39:17 And it's still nobody, nobody takes it. So, uh, to get, um, but because, because of everything that was going on at the time, I think it made it a little bit easier that so many things had closed down. Um, I still get text messages from drew or Brian saying, Hey, when, when are we going to go back? Um, and you know, I, that whole unknown I know is hard for, for everyone. Um, but yeah, it's, it's, it's a challenge for any small business right now, but especially when you have employees that, that love their job so much, and it's not to them so much about making money as it is about having that identity. It can be, um, Speaker 1 00:40:16 Knowing that there were something and that someone wants them to show up and help out. It's like being a part of something. Speaker 2 00:40:24 Yeah. So, but a lot of people's special needs have underlying health conditions. A lot of them have elderly parents or older parents. So, you know, especially in the beginning, I didn't want anyone to come in contact or create, you know, illness in any one of our customers or employees or their families. So it was the right thing to do at the time. It's just frustrating how long it's taken to figure out a way to get back to normal that everybody's still kind of figuring that out too. So we're not wanting to stay in the suburbs. Yeah. City. I know, Speaker 1 00:41:12 I know it's expensive. Speaker 2 00:41:14 Yeah. That's the thing is I think a lot of, especially, you know, city-based businesses, the rent is so abundant that even with carry out or delivery or, you know, limited table settings, it's still, it's a lot to be able to do as a business. So we're, we're still figuring that out. Speaker 1 00:41:38 It, um, have you guys thought of any additional models to continue service or, you know, like either to go only or delivery, or I don't know, like a little popup stand, I don't know. Just anything or, yeah, Speaker 2 00:41:54 We did, like in the beginning we still have an online store, so we still have merchandise. We can still sell coffee, beans, mugs, t-shirts all of that that has helped us. Um, we have like a virtual tip jar on our website to kind of help out. And we're, you know, I try to post on social media just to, so people remember us and that, you know, we're, we're still around and hope to be back in the future. So we're, we're doing the things that I think every other business is trying to do, which is maintain a customer base when you actually have a customer at the moment. But knowing that once we do, and once people are able, I think we'll get that. We'll get people to come back who have definitely. So, you know, we're just, we're working, we're working on that. Speaker 1 00:42:50 Yeah. And thinking about just the business model in general, have other businesses come to you to ask how you're hiring or how you're being more of an inclusive business, maybe the industry, maybe Speaker 2 00:43:03 In general. So I've spoken to like autistic parent group. I was on a panel discussion for the league of women voters. Like any opportunity I had to go out and sort of talk about what we did was always appreciated by the people that heard her, what we were trying to do. Parents with adult children with special needs are constantly trying to figure out ways to either employ their kids or give their kids lives, meaning. And so, yeah, I had a bunch of parents reach out to me and say, how did you do this? How much did it cost? Like how did, how did you go about doing this? Um, and so I try to reach back out and, and give advice where revise can be given. I had a woman come out, actually meet me. She flew in from Boise, Idaho. And after talking with me for an hour, she decided that a coffee shop was not probably what she wanted to do, but she ended up partnering with a local business and is doing a candy business. Speaker 2 00:44:18 But so she's in a business, they have their own section, she hires and special needs employees. And they're doing really well. And I think in talking with me, she maybe I don't need to go into this full on all by myself, but maybe partnering and starting small, like makes more sense. Cool. So I encourage parents who are looking like, what is your kid interested in? Like what, what makes them like excited? Because they, if you're going to jump into an actual business, you need something that they're going to buy into, right. That you can buy into that you're both not going to be frustrated with a year down the line. So I think there's tons of different ways you can go about it. It's just continuing to think outside the box and ways that you can partner and ways that you can promote this, the abilities that everybody has. Speaker 2 00:45:16 Yeah. Well, did you have anything else that you wanted to share about independent grounds? You want to give your plugs anything else? So we are, we have independent grounds, cafe.com. We're on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We all under the independent grounds, cafe.com or independent grounds cafe. We hope to be back in the fall and we're always looking for ways to share or promote or assist. And if there's people that would love to, you know, feel free to contact us, if there's something that you think we can do for you, we would love to do popups or festivals. I know festivals aren't really happening right now, but any way that we could help promote or support is we're open to that. So everyone's good giving us the time to come on and welcome. Thank you. The part of the year, your podcast. It's really great. Yeah. Thank you so much, Lorena. I really appreciate your time and thank you for being, um, an incredible person and also just continuing to break down barriers for people with disabilities in a works and job related industry, which is awesome. Awesome. Thank you. Speaker 0 00:46:40 Thank you, friends for listening. Please rate and follow this podcast or text card at (470) 588-1215 with comments and suggestions tune in next week for another disability topic.

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