Coffee. Community. Character. That is the motto for Cookeville’s new coffee shop, The Exceptional Bean. But it is who will be serving your coffee that makes this small business so exceptional. Founder Cigi England’s vision to create an inclusive environment that employ’s individuals with disabilities has become a reality. The 501c3 business launched with more than 36 team members with disabilities while creating an environment catered to their needs.

Individuals in the Cookeville community sponsored everything you see in “The Bean.” In fact, the inspiring new business raised more than $80,000 in donations to support its launch. Already an established business owner in Cookeville, some may recognize the name Cigi from her popular boutique. The entrepreneur opened Cigi’s in 2014 and has overseen the women’s shop since. Her experience as a small business owner has no doubt poised her for many of the tasks she now faces as the founder and president of the board of The Exceptional Bean.

So the next time you decide to get your caffeine fix, be sure to try out The Exceptional Bean. The establishment is not only empowering those with disabilities, but also uplifting each customer who comes through its doors.

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Photos by Casey Dirte.