NORTH SMITHFIELD – A small shop that has served up coffee, smiles and inclusivity in North Smithfield for the past three years closed its doors last month, with plans to reopen out of town.
Red, White & Brew Coffeehouse was opened on Great Road in 2019 by Harrisville resident Michael Coyne, and has made headlines across the state and beyond, with its unique approach to providing opportunity – and a welcoming space – to people of all abilities.
Coyne, who’s been diagnosed with autism, attention deficit hyperactivity and bipolar disorders, opened the business with family members after struggling to find employment elsewhere. The business, they say, has since allowed Coyne to blossom and thrive as he’s built relationships with customers, and offered a friendly environment to guests of all stripes.
A gift shop within the business, The Budding Violet, has sold crafts and gifts created by vendors of varied abilities, giving others who’ve struggled to find their place in the business world a spot to pedal their wares.
When NRI NOW featured the business last fall, the Coynes were in the process of making modifications to the shop in preparation for a plan to also hire more workers with disabilities, developing features including a computer system that allows users to charge for items by selecting the correct photograph.
The move, it seems, is an extension of that mission.
“With the additional square footage we can expand our program and support more people,”noted a post on social media. “We will have room for job training and employment opportunities.”
Red White & Brew noted that such opportunities are made possible through help from direct support professionals. Among those to work a the business over the past three years was Chris Andrews, who baked goods to sell at the shop while serving as Coyne’s full-time support.
It’s a unique business model the family hopes others will duplicate.
“Many individuals in RI need DSPs to help support them in gaining access to the community,” the coffeehouse noted. “Please reach out if this rewarding profession interests you. You can make a difference in someone else’s life.”
Those interested in learning more about becoming a direct support professional are instructed to email email@example.com.
Red, White & Brew’s last day in North Smithfield was Saturday, Sept. 24. Owners have not announced the new location publicly, but noted that the new, larger space will be “more central,” and not located in town. Customers and fans of the business noted on social media last week that it will reopen in Warwick.
To learn more about the new location, follow the Red, White & Brew Coffeehouse Facebook page.