GEORGETOWN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — There’s a new cafe in the Hudsonville area that’s serving “coffee with a purpose.”
Maggie’s Be Cafe is much more than your typical coffee shop. For employees like Maggie Fischer, it’s a sense of purpose and a place of inclusivity.
“The main goal is for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to find meaningful work and have a job and love to come to work and love what they’re doing,” said Virginia Fischer, Maggie’s mom and one of the founding members of the cafe.
It’s a mission she and her husband Chuck Fischer have been working toward for years and it’s finally coming to fruition. The emotions behind it are difficult to put in words.
“It’s very overwhelming but in a wonderful way. It’s a dream come true; labor of love,” Virginia Fischer said.
It’s the second cafe of its kind in West Michigan. Brody’s Be Cafe in Ada opened in the fall of 2019. The two are independently owned and operated but share the same vision.
“The ‘b’ stands for belong, believe, and beside. You can use the be word with a lot of different things: be respectful, be included,” Virginia Fischer explained.
That feeling of belonging is not only fulfilling for the workers with disabilities — called be-ristas — but also for the baristas they work alongside, like Maggie’s sisters Sarah and Cathryn Fischer.
“It’s just fun being around them and teach them how to make coffee or work at the register and it’s really cool getting to see them do all those things,” Sarah Fischer said.
“It’s been very overwhelming. We spent a lot of late nights here to prepare for this opening and just the community outreach has been incredible,” Cathryn Fischer said.
Virginia Fischer said the unemployment rate for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities is between 70% and 80%. Her hope is that more work will be done to change that.
“I would love to see something like this grow,” she said. “There’s the Brody’s in Ada and now we have the Maggie’s here in Hudsonville and I would like somebody to have the idea and the inspiration to take it off and build something in their communities.”