A group came together Monday morning at the Cherokee Office of Economic Development facility to help celebrate a new era for The Circuit Café coffee shop.

The shop is located at The Circuit, which is a co-working space for entrepreneurs that opened in 2017. The coffee shop was previously operated by Alma Coffee.

Through a partnership with the city of Woodstock, the Cherokee Office of Economic Development and the Circle of Friends organization, The Circuit Café operates at the COED facility at 1 Innovation Drive in Woodstock, serving hot drinks to customers. The shop’s employees are all part of Circle of Friends, a group of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, working with each other to create opportunities to live with purpose and acceptance in the community.

“What a wonderful morning it is,” COED Vice President Heath Tippens said. “We are thrilled to have Circle of Friends operating the Circuit Café. Our offices have enjoyed working with your staff.”

“On behalf of the city of Woodstock, thank you for doing what you’re doing,” Mayor Donnie Henriques added.

Circle of Friends Co-Founder and Chairwoman Diane Keen said it was an exciting day for everyone involved.

“In the past year and a half, Circle of Friends has made great progress,” Keen said. “We have a commitment to make space for our young adults.”

Diane Keen and her husband, Circle of Friends Co-Founder and CEO Glenn Keen, both said how this was just one part of the organization’s primary goals, offering supportive employment opportunities. In addition, Circle of Friends looks to create organic social structures to offer the ability to develop positive relationships and develop a model for an inclusive living community.

Stephen Taylor, the executive director for Circle of Friends, said this coffee shop was something very special and providing its employees a pathway of hope, giving them the options and opportunities they desire.

The final comments during the grand opening came from the coffee shop’s employees, virtually all of whom said they were excited for the shop’s opening and the opportunities it would provide for them.

After the employees shared their thoughts about The Circuit Café, officials with the city, COED and Circle of Friends gathered in front of the building to cut the ribbon, officially marking the coffee shop’s grand opening. Prior to and following the ribbon cutting, those in attendance had the chance to purchase drinks, with relatively long lines forming both times as proof of just how excited the community was to welcome the new coffee shop to town. For those wanting to enjoy all The Circuit Café has to offer, the coffee shop will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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