Brewing positive change: Local coffee shop furthers mission of nonprofit dedicated to empowering adults with special needs

By Stephanie Meador, posted 3 months ago
The store’s menu continues to grow with the business and customers enjoy milkshakes, smoothies, coffees, pastries and seasonal delights - PHOTO PROVIDED BY MILLER’S BREW

Just 10 months ago, Kim and Karl Molnar opened Miller’s Brew Coffee Shop, a brick and mortar training center for adults with special needs. Since then the community has been abuzz over the new business and not just from the coffee.
“We opened in February and we have been full steam ahead since the doors opened. Things have gone very, very well and we're really excited about our one year anniversary coming up as well as what the second year will bring,” shared Kim.

Miller’s Brew, located at 1401 Morganton Road, is the third phase of the nonprofit organization Miller’s Crew which was started in 2016 by Kim and her husband, Karl. Each phase helps to further the organization’s mission to provide vocational training to adolescents and adults with developmental disabilities in the Fayetteville area.
Continuing to provide new and seasoned crew members with opportunities to meet their growth needs keeps Kim and Karl on their toes. Interest in the program is high and it’s a fine line to balance a high level of interest in the program while also maintaining the level of dedication and personalized relationships that accompany the recruitment of each new team member.
“We’re a very transparent organization [in] that our mission and vision are clear to anybody who comes in the shop and watches and sees what we do. As a result of that, more and more intakes are occurring, so if we want to keep on the path of fulfilling that need that we set out to do, we are going to have to create some more opportunities,” remarked Kim.
Kim shared that they will be bringing back their food truck, a component of phase two, and setting up at the new Haymount Truck Stop for lunch on specific days. This will open up more spots for crew members to train.
Those that are curious about joining the program or encouraging a loved one to join the program can stop by the shop to ask questions or pick up some of the literature in the store that contains details about the program and its history. The actual application process can be done on the company’s website By selecting the “Crew Training” tab the individual will be taken to an intake informational form to fill out.

The next step is for Miller’s Brew to contact the family and schedule an intake in which the Miller’s Crew team meet face to face with the applicant
and their family. Depending on the number of applicants the company receives at a given time, there may be a wait period between the initial submission and the organization of this face to face meeting.
“Once we go over a training  agreement and the training agreement is completed, the timeline will determine their training program time slot. And once that time slot starts, it’s a six week initial program and then there’s a phase two of training and then a phase three in which they decide what employable
track they want to go on. They can stay with the coffee shop, they can go through an employable pathway that is not with the coffee shop but with a
community business partner that we work with and we'll try to get them a job or if they need more training, then they stay with us and they get more intensive training with the program,” explained Kim.

Some of these community business partners include Jersey Mike’s and Duck Donuts Owner Eric Nelson. However, Kim emphasized that the intention here is not to necessarily refer trainees to an already established connection, but to assist them in gaining the skills they need to then move up to whatever role or company they are passionate about working for. Part of their task as trainers is to set up that pathway for the crew member to achieve their vocational goals.
In order for Miller’s Brew to best  serve trainees it is important that the families of the crew members be all in for their loved ones success and growth.
“We are very, very hyper focused on that family component. Because our motto and the way we believe we run our program is it’s not just us that’s going to help these crew members be successful, it’s also their family circle,” shared Kim.
It’s not just the crew members who are growing. Community members who come into the shop and purchase a coffee or a donut are becoming more comfortable interacting with people with special abilities and this bridge towards a more understanding community is critical.

These positive results achieved by both the individual crew members and the organization as a whole are made possible by hard work on all sides of the equation. Long days of  working with dozens of customers and crew members require patience and dedication, but Kim couldn’t be more fulfilled in the work that she is doing.

 “...It’s tiresome, but there’s nothing more rewarding…you asked me what it meant to me, it means everything.” shared Kim.

As the business continues to grow, so does its menu. Kim shared that each month they’re adding new items and they also sell bags of coffee beans in store for customers who want to make Miller’s Brew at home. 
The coffee shop operates Tuesday-Saturday with weekday hours being 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday hours being 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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