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Thanksgiving Weekend, 2015:

It’s the official launch of CITY CUPS, Raleigh!   We’re pretty excited about this.  The News and Observer even wrote a nice article about us covering the vision of CITY CUPS!

What are City Cups?

Single-serve OAK CITY coffee in recyclable pods, entirely made by adults with autism and other developmental challenges.  Order ’em here!


We weren’t going for awesomeness on every level, but I think we’re pretty close to being, you know, awesome!   The theory was to use the resources of our business to find compassionate solutions to felt needs in our community, directly.  CITY CUPS has flowed out of that.

How did you get the idea?

We started by simply paying one adult with autism to apply labels on our coffee bags.  We quickly wanted to do more than that, so we kept our eyes open for the right opportunity.  When we found a small tabletop machine for putting lids on single serve coffee pods, we thought this could be a way to create meaningful work for adults with autism.

So we created a work environment built around tasks that our friends can be successful in, pay them real money, making a product that people love, and sell it in the open marketplace. High quality locally roasted coffee in single-serve pods, entirely made by people with special needs here in our community.  This is a product who’s bottom line is to provide them with a real place in the world.


What made you want to help adults with special needs?

God loves them.

It isn’t hard to see there are a lot of families here in the triangle that discover their child has autism or another developmental challenge. That puts a stress on the family and, actually, changes everything.  As they’re raising this special child they’re wondering what they’ll do when they get older, and is there even a place in the world for them?

So I want to say, you know, I think we can make a place for them.  A real honest to goodness place for them, where they can add value and create a real long-term product in the marketplace that people love and buy and pay enough to pay them well.


I have hopes for profits and profit sharing and making donations to send kids to camp through the NC Autism society, or donate to the Tammy Lynn Center here in Raleigh who provides so much help to families with kids with these needs.  Or maybe our team members keep the profits, and people who didn’t have much to look forward to can now buy Christmas presents for their families.  Isn’t that great?  Totally doable.

Here’s a way for the people of Raleigh, and businesses too, to be the market that supports the special needs community in our own city.   We’ll roast, package, and deliver to your home or office.  I think it’s a real solution for a need we’re all aware of, but didn’t know how to address it.  I thinks it’s an awesome way to direct the resources of our business to address a social need.