The Big R’s Coffee Shop Providing Retail Employment for People with Disability
Grabbing a coffee and a brownie from The Big R’s Coffee Shop, you’re doing more than just getting a caffeine hit. The Big R’s Coffee Shop has been developed with a strong community focus and all areas of the enterprise were carefully considered in order to have the greatest social and community impact.
12 months ago, are-able Social Enterprises opened The Big R’s Shed, a retail household goods recycling centre, staffed by supported employees. Now, The Big R’s Coffee Shop has been established as an additional avenue of disability services Warrnambool for providing supported employees opportunities to build skills transferrable into open employment.
“We want to be able to use the space and the support network here at are-able Social Enterprise to really build up the skills of the team of supported employees,” said are-able Social Enterprise Business Development Manager Paul Hughes.
“They’ve done a great job with The Big R’s Shed, and this is just building on those skills with making coffee and serving food.”
The Big R’s Coffee Shop business has been developed with a strong community focus and all areas of the enterprise were carefully considered to have the greatest social and community impact.
The coffee beans are roasted in Robe, Australia, and originally come from East Timor. The blend was specially chosen because it is grown and harvested by a community cooperative.
“We had our choice of coffee beans but we chose this one, knowing that the profits from the sale of the beans ensures people within that community in East Timor have employment and income,” said Paul.
The cold drinks on are provided by local business Fresha and the delicious baked goods are from another local business, Yo-Dough Hamper Co. “
“We wanted to make sure we supported local as much as possible,” he said.
One of the faces behind the coffee machine is Bec Bradford. Bec started with are-able Social Enterprise’s in February last year in the Create and Collate business. She then moved into The Big R’s Shed as a cashier, and now is working the coffee shop.
Having multiple businesses with are-able Social Enterprise allows employees like Bec to develop a range of employable skills, including, teamwork, customer service, money handling and now barista skills.
“Bec is fantastic behind the coffee machine, and the opening of The Big R’s Coffee Shop has been able to develop this skill. We’re currently only open during the week but encourage people to come down and have a look,” said Paul.
If you’d like to find out more or join The Big R’s Shed or our other community-orientated businesses, contact the team at social enterprises!