Unique coffee shop making a big impact in community
KENNESAW, Ga. - A coffee shop in Kennesaw is having a big impact on the community. It's not the coffee, it's the employees.
Walking into Independent Grounds, customers are greeted by a young man behind the counter with a big smile.
"Welcome to Independent Grounds. What can I get for you?" Drew Acree greets gusts with.
Independent Grounds is a good place for a cup of joe and a chat with friends. It's also a place that is changing lives. The shop employs adults with special needs. Owner Lorna Heid was inspired by her 17-year-old daughter, Emma, who has special needs.
"I thought this might be a good opportunity for her as something she could grow into as she finishes school, and give her some independence," said Heid.
Heid has 12 special needs employees, from 19 to 40 years old. She loves to see the smiles on their faces when they show up for work.
"They're all so excited when they get here to work. They're finally able to showcase what they can do and a lot of times what they can do people don't necessarily see," said Heid.
Drew's mom, Anita, said she has seen a dramatic change in her son since he took his first order at the coffee counter.
"The last month he's been working driving himself to work and back, he's definitely maturing. He's got his own checking account now and he pays for his own gas, filled up his car yesterday," said Anita Acree.
The community has embraced this coffee shop for their brew and for what they do to help others.