North Star Coffee making a connection one cup at a time

North Star Coffee in Canandaigua is celebrating its first birthday by giving back to customers. But the workers there might be the ones getting the most out of the past year. (13WHAM Photo)

(WHAM) - North Star Coffee in Canandaigua is celebrating their first birthday. Jamie Jensen has been working there ever since it opened.

"I clean tables, I wait on customers, and I fill coffee orders," she said.

But customer service might be the part of her job she's best at.

"I know some of their orders," Jensen said. How, you ask? Just by looking at the vehicles they're driving as they pull into the parking lot.

Jensen is one of about 1,000 members of Ontario ARC. The agency celebrates strengths and achievements of people of all abilities. They opened up North Star Coffee to create opportunities for people with developmental disabilities.

"[You see] People come to North Star, learn what it's like to have a job, learn what it's like to have the skills they need, what it's like to do what your boss says even if you don't like it, and to see the growth in them," said Michelle Jungermann, Director of Meaningful Activity at Ontario ARC.

Jensen is one of about 25 members of arc that have experienced what it's like to have a job since North Star Coffee opened. Jessie Morey is a barista at the shop. She's been working with Ontario ARC for two years.

"The customers come in and I hear every day, 'Oh this is a part of ARC?'," Jensen said. "And then they come back because they want to support such a good organization. Working at North Star, just helping people succeed in the community and the work force is just fulfilling."

The customers who make the shop part of their daily routine find their visits - and coffee - just as fulfilling.

"A lot of it has to do with the [Ontario] ARC; I really feel like that they're worth supporting," said Dina Mangiamele. She's been visiting at least twice a week since the shop opened. "The coffee is always great, but just the people themselves will make your day."

All week long, you can expect different specials to help celebrate the first birthday here at North Star Coffee.

To see the morning Good Day Rochester spent at the shop learning how they are making a connection on cup at a time, click here.

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