Business Success! An Interview with Kim Morrison Co-Founder of BeanZ & Co
Pictured is Kim Morrison with Nick, Meagan, Yana, and Kevin
An Interview with Kim Morrison Co-Founder of BeanZ & Co;
The doors have been open since December 1st, 2018. Business is booming, bustling, and inclusive. When asked how the business was started Kim explained;
She worked with her business partner Noelle Alix, and they created a list. They tried to estimate how many customers would need to come through to make it a viable business. Right now there are about 100 to 120 per day. They took an existing business that was not going well, and they completely changed it. It is now a café where you order at the counter and they deliver the product to your table. "We were inspired to start this business by our daughters Meghan and Kate. Meghan was getting ready to graduate, and the options opened to her were limited. The business has become so much more than a coffee shop. We have two chefs and a baker. The inclusion is beautiful. We started with two individuals with disabilities, and six months later we have nine. Eight traditional workers work alongside, they are not job coaches. We are striving to keep it at a 50/50 ratio, as part of our business model. Everyone starts at $10.10 an hour, some individuals work 20 hours a week, and others only four hours a week. All of the individuals are paid employees, there are no volunteers.
BeanZ and Company has taken off exponentially. We are working on ideas to expand the business; stay tuned on that there'll be more news to come."
When asked what the pros and cons of creating a business Kim replied:
The ability to work with the staff, watching the customers interact with our individuals, seeing the resulting customer satisfaction.
Having the opportunity to create positions suited to the individual. Not everybody wants to work up front, some like to work in the back where it is a little quieter.
This isn't for everybody, I work way too many hours, but I love it!
What advice would you give to those who want to start their own business?
Kim says that you don't have to start a new business to create jobs. That can be overwhelming. You need to find employers willing to hire individuals with special needs in already established businesses. This was a 25-year-old business that we revamped and BAM!!!!! We are embedded in the community. People come in because they like to see Megan. They know her from the community; she sometimes works as a translator, and often answers questions on her communication IPAD. She uses the Easy Speech program. LOL
Have pride in what you do, you never know who's going to be walking in, or who you might be talking to. Someone may see you and your skill level and may offer you something better. Our idea is not that this will be the last job for individuals. We hope that our staff will develop their skills and move on. Kim always encourages individuals to do their jobs, and do it well, that's the key to finding a better job.
On the wall is a quote that says "You will leave better than when you came in," The inclusion evident and the staff interactions make that a statement more than accurate.
If you would like to visit and see for yourself;
BeanZ & Co.
300 West Main Street
Avon, CT, 06001
Submitted by Kevin Arce, Self Advocate Coordinator
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