WILMINGTON — A partnership is official between two companies that got their start in Wilmington.
Bitty & Beau’s Coffee announced Wednesday it will open a satellite café in the headquarters of nCino, which has been undergoing renovations over the last year with the construction of an additional 90,000 square-foot office building and new parking garage in Mayfaire. The 2,860-square-foot coffee shop is located on the first floor of the fintech company (6770 Parker Farm Dr.), with an official grand opening scheduled for Friday, Jan. 7, 10 a.m.
“The pandemic slowed down our efforts, but we’re thrilled to be finally opening our doors,” said Bitty & Beau’s co-owner Amy Wright, who had to push the opening a few times due to Covid-19.
According to Amy, the partnership has been in the works for two years now.
“Conversations began internally at nCino in 2019 about enhancements to our campus,” nCino spokesperson Kathryn Cook wrote to Port City Daily, “including potentially bringing food and beverages on-site for our employees and guests.”
Cook said employee feedback garnered high interest in Bitty & Beau’s, and with the two companies sharing similar cultures and values, the move made sense.
“The relationship was further strengthened after Amy and Ben Wright spoke at our company kickoff in February 2020 and there was not a dry eye left in the room,” Cook detailed.
Bitty & Beau’s launched its first coffee shop in Wilmington in 2016, with the goal of being an empowering workplace for individuals with varied intellectual and developmental disabilities. Its flagship cafe is open on New Centre Drive in a former Hummer dealership.
Named after two of the Wright’s four children, who have Down syndrome, Bitty & Beau’s has expanded into 13 states with 22 locations. It opened its second Wilmington spot in 2020 at PPD’s worldwide headquarters. (The pharmaceutical company was acquired in 2021 by Thermo Fisher; Bitty & Beau’s is still located inside the 929 N. Front St. building.)
“We believe partnerships with other businesses are tremendous catalysts for our mission of changing the way people see other people,” Amy said.
The Wrights aim to impact the job market in positive ways, specifically helping people with disabilities who remain unemployed. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2020, 17.9% of people with a disability have a job, which is down from 19.3% in 2019.
Bitty & Beau’s employs over 300 people with disabilities nationwide and 60 in Wilmington. Though, Amy is clear their concept goes beyond offering jobs and “shows our guests what’s possible.”
“If business is about anything, it’s about innovation,” Amy’s husband and cofounder, Ben, stated in a press release. “We are constantly striving to innovate our systems and processes around people with disabilities, and we take great pride in partnering with nCino whose commitment to innovation has made it the world leader in cloud banking.”
The nCino café will operate Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m., for employees and their guests. Amy called its design and setup “congruent” with the Bitty & Beau’s aesthetics: “dramatic lighting, warm wood with pops of color.” It is full-service, offering the brand’s signature coffee and specialty drinks, baked goods, bagels, and breakfast and lunch offerings, procured from another local company, Veggie Wagon.
While Bitty & Beau’s doesn’t have plans to launch another standalone shop in Wilmington as of now, Amy said the team is always open to pursuing new ways to grow.
“We would love to talk with other Wilmington businesses about bringing Bitty & Beau’s Coffee to their workplace,” the 2017 CNN Hero of the Year said.
Bitty & Beau’s will franchise 13 more stores nationwide in 2022, according to Amy. The business also was chosen among five other local companies to be featured on the PBS show “Start Up,” which filmed in the Cape Fear region in mid-2021.
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