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The Inclusive Bean is coming to Racine. It will be the newest coffee shop to hit the town come spring of 2023. However, unlike most places where you can grab a hot cup of joe, The Inclusive Bean will brew more than just coffee. The 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization will create opportunities for those with disabilities through its unique employment model.

Its mission is to “provide teens and adults of all abilities the opportunity to gain essential work and social skills focused on building optimal independence within a supportive and loving environment,” shares founder, Amelia Fahnrich.

From idea to action

Behind the idea are founders Maximilian and Amelia Fahnrich, who felt inspired to help. They got the ball rolling with The Inclusive Bean in 2020. Amelia is the Director of Special Education and School Support for Sonnenberg Schools. Her husband works full-time on the business side of the nonprofit.

After dedicating her career to those with disabilities, she’s always felt that more could be done for these individuals during their young adult lives and after high school graduation.

“There’s nothing similar and there’s not these opportunities for these kids,” said Amelia.

The conversation that started it all

The inclusive Bean
Maximilian and Amelia Fahnrich founders of The Inclusive Bean, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. – Photo credit: Elizabeth Jean Photography

A conversation with a parent of a child who attends the school she works at sparked the fire. The parent shared information with Amelia about a restaurant that employs those with disabilities. It gave Amelia the idea that she could bring the same idea to Racine, but with a coffee shop.

The conversation took Amelia to her husband for consulting. It was evident to the Fahnrich family that Racine needed this type of opportunity. Instead of letting the thought pass them by, they jumped on it.

A space for accommodations

The Inclusive Bean’s future home will be in Belle City Square, 2100 Northwestern Ave., in Racine.

As strong advocates for inclusion and neurodiversity, they decided that a coffee shop was a great way to help build a sense of community. The legalities are squared away, a website is built, a location has been selected, and now the family is eager to get the word out.

The coffee shop will employ individuals with various cognitive, developmental, and physical disabilities in a place where they are coached, empowered, trained – and over time – placed into a fully integrated work environment. They will also employ those who are able-bodied.

Understanding inclusion

Maximilian says a big part of their focus is helping “people to understand that it’s that these people with special needs can do the same things we can do, just differently.” He continued, “we all have to somehow come together to understand that.”

The family is one step closer to creating a more inclusive community in Racine. It’s starting with their shop at Belle City Square. In addition to being open-minded leaders, the Fahnrichs’ coffee shop will include a sensory room. The space will be one for accommodations and understanding, whether you’re a worker or visiting the shop.

The Inclusive Bean logo

The hiring process is set to begin in January 2023. Their business model strives to bring people together and give people with differences the chance to thrive.

“Whether they decide they want to work for us for the rest of their life, or if it’s just like a stepping stool for them or, you know, this is a place to get training and different skills. Wherever the path takes them,” Amelia said, “we have support set up throughout the whole system.”

There will be opportunities for people to work the register, clean the shop, help with making drinks, and interact with customers. The couple is aware that “There’s a lot of different potentials for them (differently-abled people), and we want to support them best as to what they feel like would be best for them,” said the couple.

Looking to the future

In the future, The Inclusive Bean hopes to provide even more opportunities for those who are disabled. They imagine a future that includes the nonprofit owning their own vehicle that helps transport employees, a mobile coffee cart, and even provide scholarship opportunities for students.

Maximilian touched on the importance of valuing the employees and their ideas. Each employee will feel their interests are valid and supported in their working environment.

“As we grow with our employees we will (incorporate) their ideas,” he said.

When seeing someone different in the work environment, it’s not a turn-off, but rather a chance to include. Not only is he focused on this, but the company is working to “bridge this mindset and change people’s ideas.” This includes focusing on inclusions of all kinds, not just those with disabilities.

The couple wants people to know that when you work for them, “you’re not just an employee, you’re you’re part of a family that’s loving and supportive.”

Supporting the nonprofit

The community can help support the nonprofit by visiting its website. Follow The Inclusive Bean on Instagram and Facebook to keep up to date with the progress. Once open, purchase your lattes and mochas by stopping by Belle City Square to embrace the local nonprofit.

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