In the span of two and a half years, Moji Coffee + More went from the dream of a few individuals to the reality of a place of employment for 28 individuals with differing abilities. It all began in the beginning of 2017 when four individuals realized they had the same hope for Winston-Salem: for a place that would train and employ individuals with I/DD (Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities). After visiting establishments in other areas which had similar missions, these first Moji leaders started to form the vision of Moji - to be a coffee shop that remained mission-driven a non-profit, provided excellent vocational training and meaningful employment for all, while offering above minimum wages.
The vision of Moji Coffee + More grew throughout 2017 as an initial group of two dozen individuals refined the mission and vision of this initiative. In May 2018, the Articles of Incorporation were established and the Board of Directors was formed with eight members. Shortly after, in June 2018, Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools leased the Trade Street location and the designing began! What used to be an empty space was transformed from October 2018 to April 2019 into the shop you see today. Towards the end of construction in March 2019, Natalie Hughes was hired as the general manager; Tim Flavin became the Executive Director; and Charles Reitz became the Chairman of the Board. Employment Information Sessions were held to spread the word about this opportunity for employment for individuals with I/DD. Throughout April 2019, supervisors with backgrounds in coaching individuals with differing abilities were hired and developed the barista training program, which spanned the course of five weeks in May and June 2019. At the end of the program, 31 individuals were offered positions at Moji.
At long last, grand opening weekend was June 22-23, 2019! And the Winston-Salem community showed up in a BIG way! Crowds lined the streets and cheered as Mayor Allen Joines and our Mojistas cut the big red ribbon. All the hard work and perserverence of everyone who had committed to the dream of Moji Coffee + More was realized in that moment. And more importantly, the hopes and dreams of individuals who hadn’t always been given the opportunity for employment were finally realized.
At Moji Coffee + More, we celebrate everyone’s differences and believe everyone deserves meaningful employment. It is our goal to be a place of more than just coffee for our guests and a paycheck for our employees. Instead, Moji Coffee + More strives to be a place of education for all, which means educating our guests and the Winston-Salem community as a whole about the untapped potential of these valuable individuals, and educating our employees by giving them the highest vocational, social skills, and life skills training possible. All while serving the best coffee, specialty drinks and baked goods in Winston-Salem!