Lucky Ones Coffee serves equality for people with disabilities
December 29, 2017
Katie Holyfield and Taylor Matkins have heard for years that they must have big hearts because they spend their days working with people with disabilities.
"We're setting out to break that stigma," Holyfield said, "We are the lucky ones to have them in our lives."
To do that, the two are planning on opening a coffee shop, named the Lucky Ones, where people with different abilities will work. They are currently raising money to launch a location in Park City, and are waiting to hear back about their proposal for a space within the Park City Library.
Matkins originally came up with the idea after moving to Park City to work at the National Ability Center (NAC) two years ago. She had just moved from North Carolina, where she visited a coffee shop that employs people with disabilities, Bitty and Beau's Coffee. Park City, she thought, would be the perfect place to open a similar business.
She told Holyfield about her idea – whom she met while working at the NAC – and Holyfield was immediately convinced.
"Park City is perfect," Holyfield said. "Seeing the resources that are here, like the transportation, is awesome. It lets them be independent and creates a platform for independence."
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They asked if Bitty and Beau's wanted to open a franchise location in Park City, but the company opted against it. Determined, the two decided to open their own shop.
They went to the Small Business Development Center in Salt Lake City to learn about starting a business and began outreach in November. They brought a pop-up Lucky Ones Coffee to events, such the Turkey Trot, to hand out coffee and educate people about the business. They have continued to serve their coffee in the lobby of Jackson's Base Camp during weekends in the winter.
Part of the reason behind starting a coffee shop for people with mental and physical disabilities is because, oftentimes, that population is not able to find jobs. Holyfield learned that while working with the NAC's COACH internship program, in which people with different abilities learn skills that could be transferred to a career.
"They would come and learn all these awesome job skills, but what happens after that?" she said. "It's an awesome program, but it needs somewhere to build into."
Maktins and Holyfield wanted to provide options. They spent the last few months speaking with people with different abilities and asking what jobs would be meaningful and interesting to them. So far, people have been intrigued by the social interaction a coffee shop job would offer. They have about five volunteers who regularly help with outreach events, and Matkins said they are all excited at the prospect of having a job.
"They want to get the place started about as bad as we do," she said.
"They are so excited and pumped to do this," Holyfield added.
Lucky Ones Coffee has budgeted for about 20 employees when it opens, so that people with different abilities can work at their own pace and schedule, based on their ability and endurance.
For their supplier, Lucky Ones is partnering with Alpha Coffee in Salt Lake City, a veteran-owned coffee supplier and shop that donates coffee to active military serving overseas.
Holyfield said that, so far, organizations and community members have been supportive of the duo's efforts to realize their dream. Still, they are looking for more donations to reach their $30,000 goal by Jan. 2 in order to fund the space, equipment and renovations to make everything compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The two said that the dream is to open an entire brick-and-mortar store, but for now they will be satisfied with a small shop inside of another business. Since the library is on the bus route, Holyfield said that it would be an ideal location.
The library is currently reviewing the applications it received in December and plans to have a decision by mid-January, said Adriane Herrick Juarez, library director.
Ultimately, Holyfield and Matkins want to promote independence for those with disabilities, but also allow other people to experience the joy that they do every day when they work with that population.
"They have such a different take on the world that sometimes it's fun to hear it or see it through someone else's eyes," Holyfield said. "You come in and you leave with a smile on your face."
Those interested in donating to Lucky Ones Coffee can do so at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/lucky-ones-coffee-community#/.
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