New Coffee Shop with an Inclusive Mission Opens in Luzerne County

March 13, 2023

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.

Bake Inclusive Fundraising Campaign

Bake Inclusive Fundraising Campaign

Since its inception, Coffee Inclusive has exceeded our expectations, fostering an inclusive and empowering environment where individuals of diverse abilities work alongside experienced baristas to create delectable coffees, smoothies, and snacks. The success of Coffee Inclusive has inspired us to embark on an exciting new venture, a bakery, called Bake Inclusive.

Bake Inclusive was designed to build on the achievements of Coffee Inclusive by extending opportunities to even more individuals with diverse abilities. The bakery will help us expand NEPA Inclusive’s transitional employment training program for high school students, preparing them for successful careers beyond graduation. Our mission is to facilitate a seamless transition from high school to gainful employment for these young individuals, whether that be at the bakery or somewhere else. To ensure the grand opening of Bake Inclusive in March 2024, we have set an ambitious fundraising campaign goal of $150,000 in 150 Days. This funding will be allocated towards acquiring the necessary equipment and supplies essential for the bakery’s operations.

We hope you will consider making a donation to help us get Bake Inclusive up and running. Together, we can create a brighter and more inclusive future for all. Thank you!


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