An Urbana coffee house that provides jobs for workers with disabilities was recently featured in a program that highlights businesses around the state that are making a difference in their communities.
Bobbi Custer started the Spotted Cow, 927. N. Main St. in Urbana, shortly after graduating from Heidelberg University in 2014. She studied business and was looking for a way to use her skills to provide help for people with disabilities.
At the time, she was working at a coffee shop in Tiffin during an internship and decided it made sense to start her own business.
The Spotted Cow is being recognized this month by the Ohio Business Profile Program through the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office. Sam Rossi, a spokesman for Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, said the program has a different theme each month. In the past, the program has highlighted businesses owned by veterans and women-owned firms.
Custer’s brothers, Eric and Levi, both have Down syndrome, and she said she knew she wanted to find ways to help them achieve their goals. Both her brothers started out working at the Spotted Cow.
“They both work at different businesses now, but it was a great way for them to build the self-esteem to be on their own,” she said.
She said about half of the Spotted Cow’s roughly dozen employees have disabilities. She said many of the workers have talent in a particular area, whether its cleaning or customer service, that has helped the business be successful when the employees work together.
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“Our mission has been one thing that has helped us,” she said.
Last year, the coffee shop also received a Better Business Bureau Spark Award, which recognizes millennial organizations whose leaders demonstrate a “high level of character,” according to the BBB website.
A representative from Husted’s office visited the Spotted Cow last week and provided a certificate to recognize the business, Rossi said.
“The point of creating the program was to highlight homegrown Ohio-based businesses that are really giving back to the community,” Rossi said.
This month, the program recognized businesses like Food For Good Thought in Columbus, which provides employment services for individuals with autism. It also recognized Hot Chicken Takeover, a Columbus restaurant chain that provides work to employees who have faced incarceration, homelessness or other barriers to employment.
“It made a lot of sense to cite the great work they are doing,” Rossi said of the Spotted Cow.