RISE coffee & tea is a local coffee shop with a healthy flair that employs people with special needs providing a bigger stage for them to SHINE their light!
From the owner, Nicole DeWard:
“I might own a coffee shop someday.” This thought has percolated in my life since drinking coffee with my mentor almost 20 years ago. We met in a local coffee shop in Holland, MI during some difficult high school years. Fast forward to today: 19 years of marriage, four kids, (my first baby, Bekah, was born with Down Syndrome), a career in personal training and health coaching, and seven years as owner of SHINE health & wellness. It’s now time for that coffee shop! I’ve often wondered what Bekah’s path might look like and how she would SHINE her light in the world. Seeing the value of community for so many of my wellness clients, the dream of sharing Bekah with my world began, and combining it with my love for coffee and coffee shops. Another dream of mine was creating an atmosphere of love and acceptance by employing people with special needs. This could also be a low barrier entrance into wellness for the community. I’ve always believed in the power of two. Two people doing life together, believing one another, and spurring each other on. I see that power in Bekah and others with special needs. They can do more when they have the model of someone else paving the way for them.
At SHINE, we help people find their strength and light the way.
At RISE, we will help people realize they ALL have a place to SHINE.
RISE will employ a 1:1 ratio: One typical functioning employee to one employee with special needs.
Four years of dreaming has brought us to the home stretch of this becoming a reality. Construction will be done in 2 weeks as we move into a soft open and the grand opening event on March 21!
UPDATE as of April 24, 2020
Wow. Just as I type those words tears well up in my eyes thinking of all that we have been through over the past several months getting this all together. When people talk about a labor of love... they really truly mean labor. Blood, sweat and tears - literally - have gone into this effort. There are too many names to thank but one I must, and that is my amazing husband, Josh DeWard. He has labored HARD... spending countless hours using his amazing skills to pour into this dream. None of this... absolutey, none, would have been possible without him.
The Camp DeWard family couldn't be more excited and proud to open the drive-thru tomorrow morning at 8am for our first full day! We are offering our full menu that can be seen on our website and drive-thru service by Miss Bekah herself, the inspiration for this whole thing.
We aren't certain when we will open the shop for seating but I anticipate it will be here before we know it. Soon, the rest of our amazing staff of management, team leads, buddies and BaRISEtas will be comfortable to begin working as the immediate concerns dwindle. The ongoing support of family, friends and new friends and neighbors has been overwhelming. We can't wait to all be together!
You might say that this was the worst time ever to start a business... and for some that might be true. However, my faith is bigger than Covid-19. I believe that through adversity there is great opportunity. We have experienced exactly what was meant to happen. We are learning what we were meant to learn.
The gratitude in my heart is truly overwhelming. I'm honored to bring RISE coffee & tea to our community and I can't wait to see the lives that are changed in it and through it on a daily basis.
Step by step He leads me, and I will follow Him all of my days.
Shining bigger and brighter than ever,