Coffee shop employs ‘Be-Ristas’ with disabilities


ADA, Mich. (WOOD) — The community is celebrating a new coffee shop in Ada Village, a new development in Ada, that employs teens and adults with special needs.  

Brody’s be Café had its grand opening Wednesday at 7267 Thornapple River Drive.

The coffee and tea shop is founded by Jennifer Cole and is a part of a 501(c3) non-profit started earlier this year. Cole told News 8 that the mission of Brody’s be Café is to offer meaningful work and minimum wage to individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities.  

The inspiration of opening the café came from Cole’s son Brody who was born with Down Syndrome.  

“The idea really came from thinking about the future of my son Brody and trying to create a place where Brody could work for life or some of his friends could work for life,” Cole said. 

Instead of baristas, the employees are called Be-Ristas.  

“The Be-Ristas will be really running it and making coffee and greeting customers,” Cole said. “It’s really just about getting a bunch of different people to come together and see that they’re really not that different.” 

One Be-Rista, Allie, enjoys the hustle and bustle of making lattes behind the counter.  

Fellow Be-Rista, Alex, likes to oversee the flow of the place and already has his sight set on a manager position.  

Cole said there’s a lesson to be learned for everyone that walks through the door as she hopes the café will help reshape the way people think about what it means to be different.  

“We’ve seen some looks or reactions — people thinking, well oh, is my coffee going to be the same? Is service going to still be good? And it’s breaking that barrier,” said Cole. “So that when they get that coffee or when they come into our shop, it’s just as wonderful as anyone else making coffee or serving them.” 

For more information about volunteering or donating to Brody’s be Café, visit the coffee shop’s website.

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