Love Coffe Expands Columbia Mission with New Location at Tiger Hotel

Love Coffee celebrated the grand opening of its second location in Colombia with a grand opening ceremony and free pastries on Friday afternoon.

The new location is inside the downtown area of ​​the Tiger Hotel.

The cafe offers vocational training and employment in an atmosphere of love to people with disabilities and barriers to employment, through his website.

“I love coffee, always have it,” said employee Elijah Clark. “I love to see people’s smiling faces. It’s awesome.”

Employees Tomas Swenson and Dena Muskopf joined with members of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce to cut the ribbon on the hotel’s lobby steps.

Chuck Crews, founder of Love Coffee, said the idea came from his work as a Special Olympics athlete coach and hearing about a similar store in Wilmington, NC called Bitty & Beau’s Coffee. .

“A number of our athletes I was involved with were coming to train on time, wanted to do well, could be coached and got better as they went,” said Crews. “A lot of them didn’t have a lot of job opportunities.”

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While making a profit is always a goal for any business, the most important part of Love Coffee, said Crews, is helping employees gain the confidence and skills to be successful in other businesses.

“We were fortunate to have our own job,” said employee Sarah Rybolt. “It’s fun to work as a team, to feel comfortable and to be welcome in the community. “

Glyn Laverick, owner of The Tiger Hotel, was looking to be part of the International Hotel Group, said Patrick McMurry, Love Coffee board member. One of the criteria was to have a cafe inside, so Laverick approached Love Coffee with his idea of ​​expansion, McMurry recalls.

Love Coffee’s original location remains open at 15 Business Loop 70.

“One thing we really hope to achieve with the cafe and in particular the opening of another location is to raise awareness of the viability and the need to include people who face barriers to employment,” said McMurry .

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Manager of the cafe, Karen Morgan, said these employment opportunities for people with disabilities help them build their confidence and self-esteem.

The company is “gracious” and “merciful” when it comes to mistakes and teaching moments, while the same mistakes in other companies could put employees at risk of losing their jobs, she said. declared.

“We’re a stepping stone as far as they can get into the competitive workforce and be successful,” Morgan said. “Once they start to see that they can do something and they start to be successful, it’s amazing how much they blossom.”

During her 30 years of experience in teaching special education students, she has strived to force her students to “believe in yourself and have faith in your abilities”, which she transposed into her work at Love Coffee.

The new store has been in operation since a smooth opening at the end of November. The boutique is open daily from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. for hotel and other guests.

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