This shop aims to spark change for people with disabilities, and strike up a conversation for businesses everywhere

Could all businesses be this forward-thinking?

Anastasia and Katie's
Anastasia and Katie's (Photo provided by Kelly Rockwell/Anastasia and Katie's Facebook page)

Every now and again, you hear about a company or a shop that transcends the business itself. It has a higher purpose, and aims to make meaningful change: In the industry, the local community or even the world.

Anastasia and Katie’s Coffee Shop and Café, in Livonia, Michigan, is one of those businesses.

Named after two 14-year-old girls with Down syndrome, Anastasia and Katie’s opened in December 2019. The coffee shop, which serves coffee, tea, breakfast, lunch and snacks, aims to employ people living with disabilities, and provide the appropriate training -- along with on-site support and a paycheck -- in a welcoming, community-based business.

A mission lingers in the air at Anastasia and Katie’s, and it all boils down to opportunity and inclusion for all.

It sounds simple: Shouldn’t all businesses offer those two elements -- opportunity and inclusion? An obvious answer is probably a resounding YES. But this coffee shop truly embodies its core values and principles, and is working toward its mission every day.

Once the shop debuted, it was immediately embraced by the employees and the locals. It even says as much on the business’s website, but Kelly Rockwell echoed that sentiment in a recent phone call.

You can hear the passion in her voice when she talks about Anastasia and Katie’s, named in part after Rockwell’s own daughter, Anastasia. Rockwell is a co-founder and board member of the nonprofit organization Mi Work Matters, a volunteer-run group made up of parents, families, caregivers and advocates of people with developmental disabilities.

It’s this group that runs the coffee shop. Another co-founder of Mi Work Matters, Dan Duffy, is father of Katie, the other girl mentioned in the shop’s name.

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