Coffee shop to open with team of employees with disabilities

Local News

A new kind of brew is coming to Topeka. Dialogue Coffee House is preparing to open it’s doors with a team made up almost entirely of employees with disabilities.  

For owner 20-year-old Caitlyn Halsey the grind of starting a brand new business is one she embraces with a mug-half-full kind of attitude.

“I just got the inspiration from seeing the need in the community and loving coffee,” Halsey said.  

With some personal investment and a $10,000 grant from Go Topeka, Halsey got to work building the Dialogue Coffee House and assembling a team of employees with mental and intellectual disabilities.

Erica Peterson, who has a learning disability, is one of the employees.

“It’s hard to keep some of the jobs I used to have because they didn’t think I did a good job so, I said, I hope I get to help somewhere,” Peterson said. 

Now she’s getting a chance to show off her skills working in the kitchen at Dialogue. 

“I’m feeling confident and I’m excited. Different places wouldn’t hire people like us so it’s a good opportunity for us to learn how to do stuff on our own,” she said.  

With a menu full of coffee, a shelf full of board games, and a welcoming team of people like Erica, the store is about ready to open its doors.

“I hope that confidence will grow in our employees and that even other employers will come in and see that they’re capable of working and they can hold a job. We’re excited to show everyone that this is just a stepping stone for some of our employees,” Halsey said.  

“It’s a great opportunity for people who love coffee to come try a new place,” Peterson said.  

Dialogue is having a soft open for family and friends this weekend. You can come try them out when they officially open up on April 18th. 

Dialogue Coffee House is located at 4009 SW 29th Street in Topeka. You can find out more about the coffee shop here

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