Ribbon cutting planned for Livonia coffee shop dedicated to hiring those with disabilities

A shopping center at a busy intersection in Livonia. There’s a party store. A take-out restaurant that specializes in pasties. That’s about as Michigan as it gets, right there.

Its newest tenant is Anastasia and Katie’s Coffee Shop.

From the outside, it’s a coffee shop like any other. The menu includes fresh coffee and the espresso-based drinks one might expect. There are breakfast sandwiches and soups and salads.

Anastasia and Katie’s, however, is far from typical. It’s a coffee shop with a purpose.

That’s because Anastasia and Katie’s is run by Mi Work Matters, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing employment opportunities for people with developmental disabilities.

The coffee shop does just that.

"We offer more support than found in a traditional work setting," says Kelly Rockwell, president of the board of directors for the non-profit.

"We want to give people work experience, but also the public can come in and see what our people can do and reset their stereotypes and misconceptions."

Anastasia and Katie’s first opened this late fall, operating on select days under a soft opening as it trained its employees. The business assumed regular business hours by December.

A grand opening and ribbon-cutting celebration are planned for Tuesday, Jan. 14 beginning at 1 p.m. The coffee shop is planning drawings and giveaways throughout the day.

"The unemployment rate for people with disabilities is so high. Michigan has programs in the schools for 18- to 26-year-olds, some of the longest in the country. But once students age out, there are not a lot of opportunities out there," Rockwell says.

"Since we’ve opened, we’ve had such a large amount of applicants. The desire for employment far exceeds what we can provide.

"We hope to grow over the years and partner with other businesses, too."

Anastasia and Katie’s Coffee Shop is located at 19215 Merriman Rd. in Livonia.

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MJ Galbraith is a writer and musician living in Detroit. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.