Hiram Coffee and Donut Shop specializes in inclusiveness and love
The store provides employment opportunities for people with developmental disabilities.
HIRAM, Ohio – Dee Kletke, 46, is very proud of her room in the house she shares with her family in Garrettsville.
“I have everything. I got my iPad,” Dee told us on tour last month.
She loves having her own space to help her get ready for the day. And his routine? He has that down.
Dee’s smile lights up every room, even when others couldn’t see it in the past.
“When I had her 45 years ago, people weren’t … Down syndrome wasn’t something that everybody knew about,” said Donna Kletke, Dee’s mother. “I actually took him to SeaWorld and he wanted to say hello. She was so cute when she was little. “He reached out to another child and the mother pulled the child away.”
These days Dee is welcomed with open arms.
“All set,” she said as she put on her shoes.
He’s almost ready, but he never leaves the house without a kiss from his mom, who Dee affectionately calls “darling.”
“I love you,” Donna told Dee. “Have fun.”
“Love you too,” Dee replied. “Okay, bye, honey.”
“Good day: Tell me about it later. OK?” Donna said:
Dee’s sister, Dana, walks him to the car. They are on their way to Dee’s happy place.
“What do you think you will do today?” Dana asks Dee.
“I’ll probably do a lot today,” Dee replies.
After singing in the car on the way to work, Dee arrived.
He reached his home away from home; Maggie’s and More, a coffee and donut shop that empowers people with developmental disabilities to thrive in the workplace.
As soon as Dee and I walked through the door, she was greeted by friends and colleagues, Kayla, Kathryn, Jen and Lisa.
“We have brownies and muffins.” he tells us excitedly.
Owner Abra Schweikert’s motivation for opening Maggie’s and More in 2019 is personal.
“So I’ve had an affinity for people with special needs since I was very young. I think they bring joy. But I think as I went through my teaching career, I began to see that they were not accepted in society. and their potential was never thought of. You know, they kind of fell, you know, hit, “I have Down syndrome, and this is what’s expected of me.” So I had a challenge as a teacher to make that known in my school, building their capacity,” Schweikert said. “Then I really wanted to give them a future outside of my school environment. So it’s been a long time coming for me, but it’s also a little bit personal because I enjoy their world. So I love being a part of them. the world and having them as part of our world.”
In their world, they work very hard to build skills and friendships.
“They always work two shifts a week and once it’s a skill so they can be the shift leader. But then when it’s a social social shift, so they work with individuals that can be similar. Similar in age and interest. Thus, these companies are starting to develop,” said Abra.
Abra has a special connection with each employee. Each with their own unique personality and talent.
Kayla came right back to us with all the tips and tricks for the store’s sweets.
“We also serve candy to our customers,” he said. “You can make an ice cream sandwich out of a doughnut.”
Catherine showed us the box of donuts.
“We have glazed donuts,” he remarked.
As a donut connoisseur, we asked what the perfect bite would be.
Then there’s Jen. He is a laser-focused worker with superior panini skills.
“I need mayonnaise.” He exclaimed as he made a sandwich.
Lisa DeRue is their gentle leader and biggest cheerleader. He is also Abra’s right hand man. We spent hours watching him dance and sing with the ladies while encouraging and comforting them as they worked.
“You want me to do it because it’s messy?” Lisa asked Jen. “I know, it’s okay, I understand you.”
On busy days, Dee and her colleagues work very hard. They are attentive to hungry customers who have stopped by to feed their bellies and souls.
“They remind me every day how capable they are. And they also remind us how happy and simple life should be. You don’t need all the glory in the world to be happy,” Abra said.
However, happiness can be found on their faces, Di Kletke and his friends in the cafe filled with love.
Editor’s Note: The following video is from a previous, unrelated report.
MORE HEARTS WITH LINDSAY BUCKINGHAM.