RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The 2021 ABC11 Raleigh Christmas Parade presented by Shop Local Raleigh is Saturday in downtown Raleigh.
The fun event is the unofficial start of the holiday season. But in addition to getting you in the spirit, it is also designed to encourage you to shop at local businesses, which helps our local economy.
One of those businesses is Gabi's Grounds. You might have seen a package of Gabi's Grounds in your local grocery store.
It's Gabi Angelini's own blend of coffee beans.
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ABC11 has been following Gabi as she has tried to open a coffee shop to employ other people with special abilities.
Gabi has Down syndrome and set out to do it because it was difficult for her to find jobs outside of bagging groceries.
Now she and her mom, Mary, have rented space in the Loading Dock, a co-working flex space in Raleigh where they not only sell coffee but employ others with special needs.
They pack mailers for other members of the space including things such as soaps, mosquito repellents, masks and gloves.
"I'm helping other people help me do my own business," Gabi said.
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They still sell coffee out of their space and you can still order it online as well as pick it up at a grocery store.
"Sometimes God takes you down a different path, right?" said Mary. "Sometimes, you're going to open a coffee shop and sometimes you're going to start running a warehouse, so whatever it takes."
Brian Fuhs is the director of business development at the Loading Dock.
"We're a community-centric business, and we have all different kinds of businesses building, shipping and making products," he said. "Organically, those relationships within our warehouse are happening, and so to see Gabi's and Gabi's Grounds partner with some of our members and help them pack and fulfill, it's incredible."
Felicia White loves coming to work for Gabi.
"I get to be with all my friends and co-workers and do work and have the experience to do work and learn how to do it," she said.