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One Good Thing: Maggie's Be Cafe

A new coffee shop will offer people with disabilities something they otherwise may not have: a job.

HUDSONVILLE, Mich. — Time for One Good Thing -- someone or something that makes West Michigan a good place to live.

For some, a cup of coffee can be relaxing. For some, it can be a daily necessity. But, as you'll see in today's OGT, for some it is a pathway to independence and pride.

Near a busy intersection in Hudsonville, right next to the Family Fare, they're building something. Right now, it's a work in progress. Eventually, it will progress to actual work.

"The idea is to employ people with intellectual and developmental disabilities," said Virginia Fischer, owner of Maggie's Be Cafe.

Fischer's daughter, Maggie, will be one of those workers.

"Yes, I'm so happy for it. I'm so excited for me to do it for myself," Maggie said.

Maggie's Be Cafe is named after her. And the "Be" has several meanings.

"To be included, to be beside people, to belong. You can add a list of 'be's," Fischer said.

A similar coffee shop - Brody's Be Cafe - opened in Ada two years ago with Be-ristas working alongside Ba-ristas. They're now helping Maggie's get off the ground. When that happens, they'll be selling pastries from Stir It Up Bakery, which also employees people with developmental disabilities. These are vital opportunities for a segment of our population with an unemployment rate of 70 to 80 percent.

The lights aren't yet on at Maggie's Be Cafe. But when they are, Fischer said their be-ristas will be ready.

"It's amazing. Just seeing the other parents come in here yesterday and how excited the be-ristas and the parents were. It's reaching many people for opportunities they otherwise would not have had," Fischer said.

Maggie's Be Cafe is today's One Good Thing. They're looking at opening in May, but that's not yet for certain. They hope to have around 20 workers.

If you have a One Good Thing you'd like to submit - someone or something that makes West Michigan a good place to live - email me with your photos and-or video at OneGoodThing@13OnYourSide.com.

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