WILMINGTON, N.C. -- A small coffee shop in Wilmington has gained international fame after founder, Amy Wright, won CNN's 2017 "Hero of the Year" Award.

But what makes this little shop so special?

Here's what you should know about Bitty & Beau's

  • Bitty & Beau's is a coffee shop run by 40 employees with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).
  • It is owned and operated by Amy Wright and her husband. 
  • The shop was opened to combat IDD unemployment, which is estimated at 80 percent nationwide.
  • The shop is named after the owners' two youngest children, Bitty and Beau, who have Down syndrome. 
  • The original location opened off of Market Street in Wilmington in Jan. 2016. A second location is expected to open in Charleston in 2018.
  • The mission on Bitty & Beau's is to advocate for the value, inclusion and acceptance of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 

Upon accepting the award Sunday night, Amy Wright spoke directly to her children, Bitty and Beau, saying "I want you to know I wouldn't change you for the world. But I will change the world for you."

For winning "Hero of the Year", Bitty & Beau's is taking home a $100,000 award.

Wright said she plans to use the money to continue to to enrich IDD lives.


The Staff of Bitty & Beaus Courtesy: Facebook