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Inclusive coffee shop comes to Pittston

The future location of Coffee Inclusive in Pittston. The cafe at 350 Kennedy Boulevard is scheduled to open in March.
Kat Bolus
The future location of Coffee Inclusive in Pittston. The cafe at 350 Kennedy Boulevard is scheduled to open in March.

A new coffee shop in Pittston aims to change lives with every cup.

“We're teaching employers that people with disabilities are just as capable as anyone else to work in their environments," said Tom Carlucci. He’s quality assurance manager at NEPA Inclusive and coffee house manager.

NEPA Inclusive is the nonprofit organization behind the cafe, named Coffee Inclusive. They provide job training, employment services, housing services and other types of advocacy and support services to help people with disabilities live an inclusive life.

When the shop opens — hopefully by March 1, according to Carlucci — it will build what its founding organization hopes is an inclusive environment for everyone.

At the coffee shop, two to three trained baristas will work alongside at least 10 employees who are intellectually or developmentally disabled. The shop will be open Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, when there are classes at the yoga and cycling studios housed in the same building at 350 Kennedy Boulevard, the cafe will be open from 5 to 8 p.m. Alongside coffees, tea, lattes and other caffeinated beverages, they will offer smoothies and smoothie bowls and pressed juices.

Carlucci said the coffee shop will help the employees build confidence and work on social skills.

"We're hoping that they can take that training and if they ever want to apply for a job, maybe at a Starbucks or somewhere else ... they have the skills and we're helping them build that," he said.

NEPA Inclusive CEO Frank Bartoli started the organization in 2013. His daughter, Ellie, has Down Syndrome and he realized the area needed more opportunities for people in the intellectually and developmentally disabled community. NEPA Inclusive began with three clients. Now it’s in 13 counties and provides a variety of different supports.

NEPA Inclusive is hosting a hiring on Saturday, Jan. 28, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Those interested in employment or volunteering can stop by the office at 22 East St., Suite 3, in Pittston.

For more details, visit Coffee Inclusive on Facebook.

Kat Bolus is the community reporter for the newly-formed WVIA News Team. She is a former reporter and columnist at The Times-Tribune, a Scrantonian and cat mom.

You can email Kat at katbolus@wvia.org