The Local Buzz is looking to increase its swarm in the form of a second location, but with a meaningful twist — owner Stephie Bridgers wants to focus on creating job opportunities for people with disabilities at that location.
Bridgers, who has owned and operated The Local Buzz in Rosewood for three and a half years, has always had a personal connection with propelling people with disabilities forward. She already works with Richland School District One to bring in special education students from Dreher to work at The Local Buzz
“I always felt like no one wanted to give them a chance, where they are doing something other than cleaning the bathrooms,” says Bridgers. “A lot of the kids [with disabilities] want the chance to work with the public even if they might look or act differently.”
The plan for the new place would be to make coffee drinks, sell bottled drinks and ice cream, and have the kids clock in and wait on customers, clean up, and do dishes, where everyone is trained to do all of the jobs, she says. Whether or not there would be a kitchen that serves food like at the Rosewood location is still to be determined and will depend on the property they settle into.
Because of her Richland One connection, she is starting her search for property for the second location in the Forest Drive area first, but isn’t ruling out nearby communities in different districts like Cayce either.
“I’d want to be in a high traffic area and make it just like The Local Buzz with the fun and books,” Bridgers says.
Funding for the second location is going to come from private donations, she hopes, but the real push behind moving it forward sooner rather than later is winning a grant from The Charitable Plate, the nonprofit arm of F2T Productions.
“This is huge for us, because I wrote the grant two months ago in the spur of the moment,” says Bridgers. “I’ve always thought of doing this as part three of my business.”