New Brunswick

This coffee shop has wheels — and an inclusive employment roster

Moncton's Café Inclusio is a mobile coffee shop that provides a useful amenity for the community and also employs people with disabilities.

Moncton's Café Inclusio is a mobile coffee shop that employs 3 teenagers with disabilities

Café Inclusio was created by parents of disabled teenagers to help provide them and others with disabilities an employment opportunity. From left: Veronique Degarie, Nathalie Perron, Pierre Arsenault, Samuel Degarie, Sydnes Després, Suzanne Boudreau, Joël Arsenault and Danica Arsenault at the soft launch of their service. (Café Inclusio/Facebook)

It's a unique cafe on wheels that provides a useful amenity for the community and also employs people with disabilities.

Café Inclusio is a mobile coffee shop in Moncton created by three friends in order to provide employment for their sons. 

Suzanne Boudreau said her friend Nathalie Perron had always dreamed of owning a coffee shop. Then she heard about similar businesses operating in the United States.

"She approached me and my husband and said, 'Why don't we try something like this and involve our sons?'" said Boudreau.

"We both have sons with disabilities and we thought it was a great idea." 

The three, Perron, Boudreau and Boudreau's husband, Pierre Arsenault, took their time getting the business off the ground. 

"We just recently did a soft launch and we're ready to have fun." 

Attention from social media

Café Inclusio is owned and operated by three friends to create inclusive employment opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental challenges. (Café Inclusio/Facebook)
Boudreau said they can transport their equipment to various locations to serve tea, coffee and an assortment of pastries.

"It could be meetings, it could be conferences, it could be festivals, we're quite flexible."

 While their soft launch was for family and friends, a social media post has been getting plenty of attention. 

"Everyone loves the idea and we're just a little overwhelmed," Boudreau said.

Their sons, Joel Arsenault and Samuel Degarie, who both have difficulty with their verbal skills, have learned from working in the mobile coffee shop. 

"They absolutely adore the idea of Café Inclusio," said Boudreau. "They embraced it and they love it when we put our aqua T-shirts on and our ball caps and we go out." 

While things are just getting going for the café, Boudreau said future plans include opening a coffee shop and an activity centre. 

Boudreau said there are programs available to help disabled people with employment, but the job market is limited, and even more so for someone with a verbal disability. 

"The world of inclusion is our vision," she said. "We want to help create this world of inclusion where people with disabilities can be be next to us working, doing what they're able to do." 

While Café Inclusio has big dreams, Boudreau said they're starting small and having a lot of fun doing it.

"We just can't wait to see where it's going to take us." 

With files from Shift New Brunswick