SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Rise & Nye’s is a coffee and ice cream shop that offers much more than freshly made ice cream, coffee and sandwiches.
“People come in, Kelley runs around and gives you a hug,” said co-founder Beaver Shriver. “She remembers your name and what drink you got, just to know that it’s a place for everybody.”
The shop in downtown Sarasota employs more than 35 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including Kelley, who has been making customers her famous iced lattes for two years.
Kelley is always looking forward to putting on her apron.
“Every day is good,” said Kelley.
The shop has also implemented a buddy system, which brings in local high school volunteers like Pine View student Brooke Wolfinger.
“Everybody has their talents and abilities, and even if you have one disability you have so many more abilities that you can do a normal job. There shouldn’t be discrimination in the workforce,” said Wolfinger.
Rise & Nye’s recently won the Community Impact Award at the Sarasota Chamber Small Business Awards. The business hopes to inspire other employers to follow their blueprint as Shriver has hundreds of people with disabilities on his job waitlist.
“I gave a quick little speech. I wish I would have challenged everybody and said, ‘I have 300 on my waitlist. There is 600 of you out here. Why don’t each of you hire one person in your business. Just one person, and it’ll make such a huge difference’,” said Shriver.
With some of the additional training Rise & Nye’s provides to its staff, they have to make up a $20,000 deficit every month in order to keep the operation going.
If you would like to help, you can click this link to make donations to their non-profit organization, which helps supplement the income from the storefront, making sure everybody gets the chance to find their true purpose.