(January 17, 2024, Pittston, PA) —Frank Bartoli, president and CEO of NEPA Inclusive, today announced the appointment of Joseph Stuppino as the first executive director of Coffee Inclusive. The Pittston-based coffee shop employs people with diverse abilities working side by side with experienced baristas and servers to provide a warm and welcoming community coffee shop experience.

A resident of Dallas, Stuppino is an experienced fundraiser and community activist with a passion for helping organizations that support individuals with diverse abilities, raising $200,000 for local charities. A 2000 graduate of Dallas High School, he is well-known for his work with the Wilkes-Barre City Community Garden, donating over 5,000 pounds of food locally to non-profit organizations such as the St. Vincent DePaul Soup Kitchen. A devoted Dallas Mountaineer who was co-captain of their 1999 district championship team, Stuppino spent five years as an assistant football coach under Rich Mannello and currently serves as the junior varsity boys’ lacrosse coach.

A seasoned professional with a master of science in Health Care Informatics from Misericordia University and a bachelor of business administration in Marketing from Iona University, Stuppino’s background includes roles as the owner and operator of Valley Fundraising, a healthcare informatics specialist at Associated Family Home Care and a financial services professional with New York Life. He has lifelong experience in the food industry, including his father’s business, Cuz’s Bar & Grill, Exeter. His mother was the food service director at Penn State Wilkes-Barre for many years.

“Joseph’s expertise in coaching, fundraising, food service and hospitality along with his passion for the mission of Coffee Inclusive, makes him the perfect choice as our first executive director. We need someone who can train and coach young people with diverse abilities and foster an environment of respect for all of our employees, who will bring positive energy and unique ideas to our fundraising efforts,” said Bartoli.

Stuppino clearly understands the mission that he has signed up for. “People think we are selling coffee at Coffee Inclusive; we aren’t selling coffee… we are selling the ability to train and employ people who otherwise wouldn’t have a chance or a job to make a great cup of coffee. We are going to train people to have the ability to build confidence in themselves and to develop skills to have a job in real-world situations. I’m excited about the opportunity and the journey and giving more people a voice they didn’t have,” he said.

NEPA Inclusive recently announced the opening of Bake Inclusive, scheduled to open in March. Bake Inclusive will be an extension of Coffee Inclusive and operate under the Coffee Inclusive 501c3 charitable organization umbrella.

Bake Inclusive will feature an Inclusive Transitional Employment Program (ITEP), training local high students with disabilities, and providing them with experience in a real-world food service environment. Bake Inclusive will contract with local schools for transitional employment services and a school-to-work program. Both businesses are located in the Waterfront Warehouse, 350 Kennedy Boulevard, Pittston.

More information can be found on the website, coffeeinclusive.org.

Coffee Inclusive is expanding! Bake Inclusive, a full-service bakery, is set to open its doors in March 2024! Like Coffee Inclusive, Bake Inclusive is committed to providing training and employment for people with diverse abilities in the community. Due to the overwhelming success of Coffee Inclusive, and as a way to employ even more individuals with diverse abilities and offer unique training opportunities, plans are underway to expand this concept to include a bakery named Bake Inclusive.

The focus of Bake Inclusive is to employ more individuals with disabilities and to create a transitional employment training program for high school students to prepare them for employment post-high school, with the goal of a successful employment outcome upon ‘aging out’ of high school. Construction for Bake Inclusive has already begun. We aim to raise awareness of the importance of Coffee Inclusive and Bake Inclusive and announce the fundraising goal of $150,000 in 150 days to purchase equipment and supplies to launch Bake Inclusive in March 2024.

A heartfelt thank you to Discount Tire & the Driven To Care Foundation for their support & generosity & being the first to donate to our $150,000 in 150 days! You can also show your support by donating now through noon on Wednesday, 11/29, as part of our Giving Tuesday Fundraiser event partnered with AllOne Charities. Donations can be made at http://formstack.io/6210D or by scanning the Give Day QR Code provided. We greatly appreciate any contributions made in any amount that will help make Bake Inclusive a reality for so many deserving people with diverse abilities.

Media Coverage of the Bake Inclusive Press Conference

Featured on WNEP TV Channel 16

Featured on WBRE Channel 28/WYOU Channel 22

Featured on FOX56 News

Featured on WVIA Channel 44

Featured in the Times Leader (as it appeared on the Times Leader front page)

Featured in The Citizens’ Voice

As seen on Discover NEPA.

Changing Lives With Every Cup

Coffee Inclusive, located in the former Cooper’s Coop Building in Pittston, is not your ordinary coffee shop. While they brew fresh hot and cold coffees, lattes, expressos, mochas, and cappuccinos, the shop employs people with diverse abilities, including those intellectually or developmentally disabled, and Autism. Working side by side with experienced baristas, the entire staff creates a warm, welcoming environment. In addition to coffee, they feature locally sourced teas and baked goods, as well as fresh-made smoothies and protein bowls. Order to go, or enjoy your beverage and treats at one of the casual seating areas in and around the café.

As Seen in The Citizens’ Voice

PITTSTON — Dallas resident Meghan Donahue, who has Down syndrome, was excited to start her first job Monday working side by side with experienced baristas serving coffee, smoothies and baked goods.

Read the full article here.

As seen in The Times Leader.

(March 13, 2023) PITTSTON – Frank Bartoli has been dreaming about creating a coffee shop to employ people with diverse abilities and Autism for many years.

Dreams became a reality when Coffee Inclusive, under the umbrella of NEPA Inclusive, opened its doors on Monday morning.

Several dozen people, donors, and dignitaries gathered at 350 Kennedy Blvd, Suite 12, Pittston, for the ribbon-cutting ceremony that took place outside the doors of the large building called the Waterfront.

Bartoli, president/CEO of NEPA Inclusive, created NEPA Inclusive to help create and support inclusive and sustainable lives for people with disabilities. He had been talking about creating a coffee shop for years waiting for the right time and place to create such a business, a first of its kind in Northeastern PA.

“It’s been five or six years since we thought about a coffee shop,” Bartoli said. “We’ve look at options over the last number of years and when this one final came along, we thought, it’s time.”

Bartoli did not have to look too far from when looking for a site; it was next door to NEPA Inclusive’s offices at Kennedy Blvd.

“That was a perfect set up,” Bartoli said, on the closing of a smoothie bar next to their offices. “It just all came together finally.”

Bartoli said he didn’t want to get ahead of himself to discuss future projects regarding Coffee Inclusive but hinted there may be future sites if available, but in the mean time, he’s glad the Pittston location is up and running and with the soft opening, has been a success.

“We do think there’s a possibility that we can make all of our six regional offices coffee storefronts,” Bartoli admitted. “Realistically, we think there is a potential for us to open in at least three or four of them, maybe even five.”

Cat Zaladonis, a Pittston Area senior and a barista, has had experience in making smoothies and other beverages, was enlisted to work at Coffee Inclusive.

“I previously worked at Blend Natural, which is where our office is located now, so I had knew how to make smoothie, juices, and everything so I came in to help people learn how to make the juices and everything,” Zaladonis said. “It’s really good and I teach them stuff and they teach me stuff and it’s nice.”

Forty-two-year-old Christina Wesley, of Dupont, started her very first job when Coffee Inclusive hired her.

“They trained me to make espressos, juices and coffee,” Wesley said. “I’ll be working three to four days a week. It’s very exciting. I loved today. I made some new friends today.”

Kevin Michael Richards, a Coffee Inclusive employee, will be traveling twice a week from Moscow for work.

“My mom found out the place was opening from her friends on Facebook,” Richards, 21, said. “I’ll be working two days a week as a dishwasher.”

Michelle Mikitish, Greater Pittston Chamber of Commerce president, was on hand for the ribbon cutting. She’s excited to see a new business open in Greater Pittston, especially giving those with disabilities a voice and a chance to work.

“There are two things I’m excited about,” Mikitish said. “First off, I’m excited that NEPA is able to deliver what they talk about: how important it is for those diverse abilities to work within our community. Second, I love that NEPA Inclusive opened a coffee shop in Greater Pittston and to prove that it can be done. I’m hoping employers all over our area are paying attention and employ people with diverse abilities.”

U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright noted, “The genius in Coffee Inclusive, it’s the first endeavor of this nature in Northeastern Pennsylvania, and I have no doubt it is going to be a model for things to come.”

Pittston Mayor Michael Lombardo added, “Frank and his team have certainly rolled up their sleeves and demonstrated that hard work could get to this beginning. This is really awesome, please come and support this great endeavor and let’s create more opportunities like this so that those opportunities extend across the board here in the city of Pittston and in Northeast Pennsylvania.”

As seen on WVIA.

(March 13, 2023) PITTSTON, PA – Rounds of applause, milk steaming and coffee brewing marked Coffee Inclusive’s first day in business.

At Pittston’s newest coffee shop, employees, who are intellectually or developmentally disabled, work alongside trained baristas. NEPA Inclusive is the nonprofit organization behind the cafe. Their goal is to provide the employees with skills and knowledge that is transferable to other cafes in the region.

Coffee Inclusive’s official first day started with a grand opening celebration. CEO Frank Bartoli thanked the large crowd full of supporters, local legislators and employees gathered on the first floor of the shop’s home on Kennedy Boulevard.

“We celebrate that there’s a place where people with diverse abilities are valued as hardworking, contributing positive members of a team,” he said.

During the celebration around 10 employees, including Christina Wesley, introduced themselves to the large crowd.

“I’m going to make excellent coffee for you guys,” she said.

As a coffee drinker herself, Wesley is excited to be working at the shop.

On the second floor, employees blended fruits and almond milk for smoothies and protein bowls behind the coffee counter. Baristas from Zummos and Adezzo coffee shops, both located in Scranton, were on hand to help with coffee, lattes and other caffeinated beverages.

Pittston Mayor Mike Lombardo joined in on the celebration along with state Sen. Marty Flynn and U.S. Congressman Matt Cartwright.

“Please come here and support this great endeavor,” he said, “and let’s create more opportunities like this so that those opportunities extend across the board here in the city of Pittston and in Northeastern Pennsylvania.”

Coffee shop manager Tom Carlucci, NEPA Inclusive’s quality assurance manager, said he hoped he was looking at all repeat customers.

Bartoli founded NEPA Inclusive in 2013. His daughter, Ellie, has Down Syndrome and he realized the area needed more opportunities for people in the intellectually and developmentally disabled community. Now the organization provides training, advocacy and support services to help people live an inclusive life.

Bartoli hopes that someday, Coffee Inclusive will no longer need to exist.

“Because we won’t be able to find the employees that we’ll need because it’ll be working for you and not us,” he said. “That’ll be the day that we say we’ve done our job.”

For more details, visit Coffee Inclusive on Facebook.

As Seen on PAHomePage.com

PITTSTON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — There is a brand new coffee shop in Luzerne County and they are brewing up something special.

The team at “Coffee Inclusive” hosted a grand opening at their new coffee shop in downtown Pittston.

“Coffee Inclusive” is operated by people with disabilities, as they work alongside experienced servers and baristas.

The coffee shop is part of the non-profit organization “Nepa Inclusive.”

The new shop not only serves coffee but, most importantly offers opportunities that most workplaces do not.

“I love it, making coffees and helping out,” said Christian Wesley a barista at Coffee Inclusive.

“It wasn’t enough, I don’t think employers out there who are educated on the capabilities of people with diverse abilities. So, we wanted one to showcase that and also bring in an inclusive environment to downtown Pittston,” explained Tom Carlucci, Manager at Coffee Inclusive.

It’s competitive pay meaning they make no less than minimum wage.

And of course, there are brews at “Coffee Inclusive” but there are also other treats.

The menu also features baked goods, smoothies, and specialty drinks.

Pa live! Host, Chris Bohinski served as the emcee for the grand opening celebration.

“Coffee Inclusive” is also taking donations for equipment that they still need.

Anyone interested in a job can stop by, meet the team and fill out an application.

For more information on how to donate or apply online along with a look at their menu, head over to Coffee Inclusive’s website or Facebook page.

As seen on WNEP.

(March 13, 2023) PITTSTON, Pa. — Workers at Coffee Inclusive filled more than coffee cups at the grand opening celebration in Pittston on Monday. They filled the parking lot with supporters happy to welcome this coffee shop that employs experienced workers and those with diverse abilities.

“I couldn’t believe when I came here today that there was so much support; officials from the town, officials from the city and county,” said Bob Bartoli of Pittston. The local officials joined managers and workers for a ribbon cutting to mark the official opening after weeks of training.

“I learned how to grind stuff. I learned how to make smoothies, put it in the cups and stuff,” explained Meghan Donahue, a coffee attendant at the shop.

“Coffee, espressos, making juices, frozen juices,” added Christina Wesley, another attendant.

“Everybody came on board as friends and coworkers, and I think we’ve definitely moved already past that quickly with all the hard work, and now they are definitely a family,” said manager Tom Carlucci.

“It’s like a family. I really like them. They’re really, really nice. Yeah, he’s a nice guy,” added Meghan.

For many of the coffee attendants, this will be their first job. Others with more experience tell Newswatch 16 this will be their most rewarding job.

“It’s great, like I just walked into this, and suddenly there’s a cause. There is a bunch of community. There was a bunch of conversation about ability, and it feels like you’re a part of something bigger, and I signed up on Indeed, and it’s been very fulfilling,” said Ally McGee, an experienced barista. “I think it’s going to be great. Today was like our first rush, our first experience with, you know, more than ten people here, and it’s going really well. You know, people are really skilled at certain things, and we’re starting to get a feel for each other and seeing how we can thrive.”

You can learn more about Coffee Inclusive by clicking here.

(March 1, 2023, Pittston, PA) — Coffee Inclusive, a new community-based coffee shop in downtown Pittston employing people with diverse abilities, will hold its grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony on Monday, March 13 beginning at 10:00 a.m.

Coffee Inclusive is located in the Waterfront Warehouse at 350 Kennedy Boulevard, Suite 12. Guests requiring handicap accessibility, or the use of an elevator should use the building’s alternate entrance at 22 East Street. It employs people with diverse abilities, including intellectual disabilities and Autism, working side by side with experienced baristas and servers to provide a warm and welcoming community coffee shop experience.

Pittston Mayor Michael Lombardo will cut the ceremonial ribbon, joined by members of the Coffee Inclusive and NEPA Inclusive staffs, representatives of the Greater Pittston Chamber of Commerce and elected officials from the greater Pittston area. Emmy award nominated host of WBRE’s PA Live! Chris Bohinski will serve as host and emcee of the event. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders mascot Champ will join the festivities and pose for pictures with fans of all ages. The public is welcome and encouraged to attend this special ceremony and stay afterwards to enjoy a selection of delicious coffees, smoothies and baked goods.

The first 50 customers will receive a free hot or cold coffee beverage of their choice. Prizes will be given away throughout the event, including baked goods and Coffee Inclusive merchandise.

“We are extremely excited to welcome the community to our new coffee shop. The support we have received, from monetary and equipment donations, to well wishes from the greater Pittston area, have truly been heartwarming to all of us and have a direct impact on our ability to open our doors and provide a great customer service experience,” said Tom Carlucci, general manager, and quality assurance manager of NEPA Inclusive.

The community coffee shop will offer a full line of cold and hot coffees, lattes, espressos, mochas and cappuccinos along with a selection of locally sourced teas and the finest baked goods. In addition, Coffee Inclusive will also serve healthy fruit smoothies and acai bowls. Patrons can place their orders to go or enjoy their food and beverages at one of the many casual seating areas in and around the coffee shop.

“Everyone has been working very hard to make Coffee Inclusive a fun, community coffee shop experience for our patrons. We’ve had experts come in to train our baristas and servers on the menu and how to make the variety of coffee beverages and smoothies we offer. Our goal is to provide a delicious, consistent coffee experience every time in a friendly, welcoming environment,” said Frank Bartoli, CEO of NEPA Inclusive.

In addition, Coffee Inclusive will offer baked goods from Bake Ability, a sweet and savory specialty bakery employing individuals with different abilities who are mentored by professionals. Bake Ability affords individuals with diverse abilities the opportunity to learn a trade, grow and serve the community in the baking industry. Bake Ability is headquartered in Holicong, Pa. in Bucks County.

Dog lovers can purchase bags of dog treats manufactured by Duke’s Delites, a Lehigh Valley healthy dog treats company that employs young adults with Autism and other developmental disabilities.

For more information on Coffee Inclusive, including a full menu, please visit their website, www.coffinclusive.org.

As seen on PA Live!

PA live (WBRE) — Friday on PA live!, Chris and Rachel spoke with Tom, Allison, and Maria from Coffee Inclusive.

Coffee Inclusive is a Pittston coffee house that employs people with diverse abilities, including intellectual disabilities and autism.

Allison, Maria, and Tom talk what they will be serving at Coffee Inclusive, who their target customers are, and if customers can dine in or take out.

The Coffee Inclusive team also discuss what it means to fall under the NEPA Inclusive umbrella.

Maria and Allison also brew a St. Patrick’s Day inspired drink, which Rachel takes a look at in the video below.

Coffee Inclusive will open in March. Applications are now open. Visit their website for more information.