Getting a cup of coffee or a snack at The Coffee Caravan in Lebanon is certainly yummy, and bonus: It helps people, too. Opened in 2018, The Coffee Caravan’s focus is on helping people with special needs, providing an important employment opportunity so that all members of the community can be active and productive.
Southwest Ohio Parent talked to Mark Titmas, the founder and co-owner of The Coffee Caravan, to learn more about how this coffee shop is helping the community.
As a founder and co-owner of The Coffee Caravan, what gave you the idea to start this business?
My wife, Jodi Titmas, is a special education teacher at Lebanon High School in our hometown of Lebanon, Ohio. She talks a lot about her love for her students and her concerns for their future in the community. Over time, we decided we needed to do something to ensure the positive, clean and growing employment opportunities that these individuals deserved.
Do you get positive feedback from your clients and the community?
We have been overwhelmed with the positive responses from our community, employees and individual clients. We started this journey thinking we were just going to teach customer service and job skills to our clients. The truth has been that the relationship between our clients and our customers is just as impactful in the community as any job-related skills we could teach. Seeing our customers truly treat our people like people is empowering!
How has this helped the people with special needs who work for you?
Our motto is “Coffee with a Purpose.” Our individuals have gained purpose, a reason to be proud, are joining the community and learning what they can do in a world that is constantly reminding them what they cannot do. This positive environment has led to very little turnover, except for gaining community employment.
You work through Residential Community Care. Tell us about that program and how it helps you.
In order to implement our idea, we needed to work under the umbrella of a company that thinks out of the box like we do. Residential Community Care stepped up and took us under their wing. We have been blessed with their expertise and support. RCC provides day hab for special needs adults, residential living, transportation and a workshop called Skidz Reimaged, employing special needs adults in a woodshop setting.
What are your plans for the future?
We currently have a waiting list of clients looking to join our team that we have not been able to assist. The need is great and the only way to accommodate more clients is to grow to more locations. Our next step is expansion of sites, to fill this need. We have been blessed to this point and know God has a plan and are excited to be a part of it.
To learn more about The Coffee Caravan and their mission, view their menu, and find out hours of operation, visit their website.