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Local nonprofit B3 Coffee to open bar at Innovate Carolina Junction

b3-coffee-opening.jpg

B3 Coffee team members Lauren Winnix and Alex Martel (left to right) work the kiosk on opening day at the Chapel Hill Public Library on Saturday, July 9, 2022.
Photo Courtesy of B3 Co-Founder, Jacklyn Boheler.

This September, B3 Coffee will collaborate with Innovate Carolina Junction to open a new location on East Rosemary Street for entrepreneurs, community members and students.

Once the Junction officially opens next month, B3 will operate a coffee bar for events as a part of a phased approach in the new space. The organization will also have a full-service coffee bar at the Junction from Sept. 18-22 and Oct. 16-20.

The agreement between the two organizations is that — as long as this location is financially viable and has enough traffic to sustain B3 — it will be permanent, Jacklyn Boheler, co-founder and executive director of B3, said.

B3 — which stands for being, belonging and becoming — started as a partnership with the Best Buddies student organization at UNC in January 2020.

In the span of three years, it has evolved into a nonprofit coffee business, and Boheler said they have employees with and without disabilities working together in non-hierarchical ways.

Boheler said she feels like inclusion initiatives often exclude intellectual and developmental disabilities. 

“We're really trying to push past the charity mindset when it comes to disability and focus on the disability justice framework to really embed disability within the broader diversity, equity and inclusion movement," Boheler said. “B3 is coffee, but it's so much more.”

The organization was formed by Boheler and two other former UNC graduate students, Greg Boheler and Hannah Steen. Since its creation, B3 has hosted pop-ups across the Triangle and in July 2022, it opened its first permanent kiosk in the Chapel Hill Public Library. 

Now, the B3 team hopes that Innovate Carolina Junction will host their next permanent location, Boheler said. 

Last year, UNC took a step forward in launching Innovate Carolina Junction when the Board of Governors approved the lease for approximately 20,000 square feet of space at 136 E. Rosemary St.

The location will offer a combination of private offices, coworking spaces, Launch Chapel Hill's startup accelerator and innovation services. It will also be the home of Innovate Carolina — UNC’s central team for innovation, entrepreneurship and economic development.

“I think it makes a whole lot of sense to have an organization that's providing learning experiences to individuals,” Sheryl Waddell, the director of economic development and innovation hubs at Innovate Carolina, said. “It just aligns so nicely with the B3 mission, the mission of the University and also the mission of the Junction.”

After this transition, B3 will be able to hire more long-term employees at the location while offering more transitional, short-term employment and internship opportunities at the Chapel Hill Public Library stand.

Alex Martel, also known at B3 as “Ambassador Alex,” has been a member and ambassador of the organization for over three years. He works at pop-up events, serves coffee and records vlogs for the B3 Instagram.

“I think our community is the best,” Martel said. “It has very amazing people and I am just grateful for our community and what our customers come to support.”

With B3 at the Junction location, more UNC students will be able to easily access the organization and interact with concepts of allyship and disability culture.

“I think this will be an opportunity for UNC students to either grow in their allyship journey or experience disability culture,” Boheler said. “I think disability isn't often thought of as a culture, and there's not really many designated spaces for disability culture to thrive on campus and I think this will be one of those spaces, which I'm really excited about.”

@DTHCityState | city@dailytarheel.com

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