SARASOTA, Fla. — A new ice cream and coffee shop in Sarasota is giving jobs to people with disabilities.
Rise Coffee Company and Nye’s Ice Cream Sandwiches is serving up more than gourmet coffee and homemade ice cream, they’re dishing out inclusion.
By partnering with two non-profits, The Haven and Easter Seals, Rise and Nye's has about 30 employees with developmental and intellectual disabilities.
"It's really fun. I'm making a lot of new friends and learning a lot of new skills and I like looking at all the cute guys," said Julia Deverdzic, an employee.
The shop, opening just a week ago, has brought necessary jobs to a struggling population.
"While the rest of us are worried about five or six percent unemployment, these guys have been unemployed at 80 percent for so so long and they’ve been shunned and even institutionalized, and to me, that’s just not right," said Beaver Shriver, co-owner of Rise and Nye's.
Rise and Nye's is using virtual reality created by the Sarasota company Three Six and Zero to help train employees on how to make drinks behind the counter before even stepping foot into the shop.
"It helps them get used to the store and reduce the anxiety of training on the job because now they're already familiar with it," said Shriver.
Shriver, whose family started the Special Olympics more than 50 years ago, says Rise and Nye's purpose is for people with special needs to gain self-confidence and be included in the community.
Rise and Nye's is located at 1534 State St. in downtown Sarasota and is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. - 9 p.m.