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With staff that inlcudes special needs individuals, Mean Mug Coffee opens in downtown Salisbury

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March 08, 2019

SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - Salisbury architect Pete Bogle knew that he and wife Katie wanted to buy a building in downtown Salisbury, but that simple dream has blossomed into something more.

“Being a downtown architect here, I’ve wanted to own a downtown building for quite a while,” Bogle said. “That part has been on my heart for quite a while.”

But there was something else on Bogle’s heart when it came to the kind of building he wanted to find, and what other business might be a good fit as a tenant.

“This idea of having a place for special needs adults to be a part of our downtown community was definitely something God had put there on my heart. Being connected some with the Access Ministry at our church and getting to know some these kids, that’s some of where that came from," Bogle added.

The Access Ministry is a program designed for special needs populations at First Baptist Church in Salisbury.

The Bogles found a building in the 100 block of North Main Street in downtown Salisbury, just a few doors down from the square.

The space was recently a guitar shop and was also used for offices for the City of Salisbury.

It turns out Medina was looking for a new location, and downtown was high on the list.

“Just knowing her here in town, several years back, that she was interested in possibly doing a second location in downtown, and so I asked if she might be interested and she said yeah, for the right space, it might work,” Bogle said. “I pitched the idea of what do you think about working with special needs adults? She said well did you know that I have an older brother who is special needs adult who lives with me? I said no, I had no idea, but of course. So after a lot of prayer and a lot of talking about how it might work, we were able to purchase the building from the city.”

Medina closed the original Mean Mug location and set about setting up shop on North Main.

The next piece of the puzzle was filled when Jay Taylor of the SOAR Program at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College became involved.

“This is a huge deal,” Taylor said. “I firmly believe that God put His hand on everybody that is involved in this.”

Skills, Opportunity, Awareness, Readiness (S.O.A.R.) is a community college program designed specifically for adults with intellectual disabilities. The focus of the program is on helping the individual become more independent and self-directing by acquiring basic literacy and life skills needed to function successfully in daily living.

“We feature these folks in the community to show other businesses that everybody deserves and opportunity and a chance,” Taylor said. “We have servers that are working as baristas, we have folks that are cleaning tables, folks that are filling orders, folks that are working behind the counter with the cash register, all learning job skills that they can take not only from here, but venture out in this community and not take a blank resume.”

On Friday, the noon grand opening attracted a huge crowd. Dozens stood outside in the light rain and chilly temperatures to watch Medina, SOAR students, and local officials cut the ribbon.

“Thanks to the City of Salisbury for adopting me and taking me as one of their own. Thank all of you for supporting us, supporting my family, and supporting the SOAR kids...and praise be to God!” Medina said.

Bogle’s plan for his new upstairs architectural office are being completed, but he says that can wait for now while this mission-minded coffee shop gets going.

“I refer to this as my distraction project,” Bogle said, "but this is a lot of fun, this brings a little bit of joy to everyday.”

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