This week’s guests on the Empowering Ability Podcast are mother and son, Charity Hilson and Mitch Dale, who tell their story of making Mitch’s dream of owning a coffee shop come to life. Danny Steeves Eby, fellow entrepreneur from Episode 8 of the podcast joins us as a co-host on this episode.
Mitch, a high school senior, started to explore part-time employment in his community and was continually turned away, due to what Mitch thinks was his disability. Mitch and his mom, Charity, then teamed up to make Mitch’s dream a reality and created ‘Mitch and Mama’s Coffee Bar‘.
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Mitch and Charity were pushed by their friends and family to start, and with a small amount of capital they opened up a coffee bar inside an existing operating store in their hometown of Listowel, ON. The coffee bar currently employs Mitch and Charity, and provides volunteer opportunities to people in the community who have a disability. They have a grand vision of having their own cafe, with couches and tables, but the most important thing was for the mother and son team was to get started, so they downsized their dream (for now).
Mitch shares that having a coffee shop is his dream because he is a people person, and he loves to be around people. Every cup of coffee comes with a free hug from Mitch, and he thinks it keeps many customers coming back. I was lucky enough to get 3 hugs from Mitch, and for me the hugs were worth much more than the price of a cup of coffee. Mitch and Charity share that most people in their community have embraced their new venture, and are even offering to help with things like finding funding.
Charity provides advice to other families looking to start their own venture, “Really listen to what your child is wanting, it is easy to take over their dream….. (and) think about the best business to start that utilizes their gifts. Start slow, don’t give up, use your resources. It is very hard to ask for help, but people really want to help you. If you just ask for help things run a lot smoother.”
Charity also shares, “I’d like families to know if I can do it, anyone can…. I am a single mom, with 3 kids, and 2 jobs. It can get overwhelming and discouraging, but with patience, baby steps, and small goals anything is possible.”
This is a great story of creating an incredible ordinary life for Mitch, Charity, and other people with a disability. Mitch and Mama’s is also helping to change societal perceptions for people with a disability by providing the opportunity for them to show their gifts through employment in the community. Stop by Mitch and Mama’s to get a coffee and a hug from Mitch and you will see what I mean.
There are a lot of ideas in the graveyard. Bringing an idea to life and creating something takes a lot of courage. Just take the first step, start! Then enjoy the journey.
I’d like to thank Mitch and Charity for coming on the podcast to share their story, and lessons learned from starting their own venture. It was a pleasure interviewing them and I am excited for my next trip back to Mitch and Mamas. I’d also like to thank my co-host for this episode, Danny Steeves Eby, for his positivity, contagious laugh, and insightful questions.
Love & Respect,
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