For individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities, finding a job comes with several challenges.

One African American business owner in Citrus County is helping to change that, one hire at a time.

What You Need To Know

  • Journey’s Special Brew Café individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities

  • Jobs teach the employees to become more independent

  • The idea was inspired by the CEO’s stepdaughter, who has autism

Journey’s Special Brew Cafe has a drink menu with variety, a breakfast list with a number of options, and the best Cuban sandwich in town.

President & CEO, Chloe Edwards told Spectrum Bay News 9, “as little as a cup of coffee all the way up to a best Cuban sandwich.”

But what makes this place so unique is not just the food, it’s the people.

"Hi, welcome to our Journey to Success Brew Cafe,” one of the greeters said.

Operational Director, Dawn Anderson mentioned, “We’re about empowering individuals with developmental disabilities so that they can become more independent.”

Empowering them and assisting them with employment skills is the mission Edwards embarked on.

“I always wanted to build microenterprise businesses that causes these individuals to have independence,” she said. It’s a vision that started with her stepdaughter, Journey, who has autism.

“She inspired me to get a vision of being with individuals with this population,” Edwards recalled. 

Everyone employed at Journey’s learns how to do it all at their own pace, from taking customers’ orders to making coffee and food and making sure customers are happy and safe.

They’re things Edwards say they wouldn’t learn anywhere else.

Edwards also said that this service is needed worldwide because so many individuals with autism are not able to get jobs and achieve the independence they are looking for. 

Edwards says Journey’s Special brew Cafe is the first cafe of its kind in the county.