WESTMINSTER — About 40 minutes outside Baltimore is a coffee shop where the chief roaster is developmentally disabled. Now celebrating its fifth anniversary, the popularity of her blends and purpose of Furnace Hills continues to grow.
The shop resides along the quiet stretch of Main Street that contracept the Americana from long ago. Inside are three machines busy roasting coffee at 400 degrees.
At the helm is 41-year-old chief roaster Erin Baldwin, who has down syndrome.
“78 percent of adults with developmental disabilities are either under- or unemployed, so we have a vision to making a dent in that,” says founder Dave Baldwin.
Baldwin founded Furnace Hills Coffee Co. when state officials told him it would take nearly a decade to find his daughter work.
“It started in our kitchen and dining room and then my wife needed our house back so we moved it to the shop,” Baldwin says.
The coffee can be found in a number of stores in the Baltimore area with sales benefiting charities for the developmentally disabled.