“When I was little, I always wanted to have my own restaurant. I saved up all my checks from birthdays and Christmas, and when people would give me gifts, they would say, ‘Save it for your restaurant,’” says Gabi Angelini, 21.
After Gabi graduated from high school, she and her mom, Mary, considered opening a restaurant, but the idea was daunting. That’s when the pair decided to visit Bitty & Beau’s. “My Dad loves coffee. I loved their hot chocolate,” says Gabi. After their visit, Gabi remembers, “I said, ‘Let’s do it!’”
Two years ago, the Mom and daughter team founded Gabi’s Grounds, an online coffee shop that sells coffee grounds, beans, and K-cups, in addition to printed clothing and coffee-themed gifts.“My brother makes coffee soap for us,” says Gabi, adding that the dream is to someday have,“lots and lots of coffee shops everywhere!”
“My part is to do deliveries, work the booth for events, help people, and make coffee for some events, and do inventory,” explains Gabi, who grew up with five brothers in Raleigh, North Carolina.“My brothers taught me how to skateboard, play baseball, and basketball, and ride bikes,” she says.
In addition to all her shop duties, for the last four years Gabi has also worked three hours a week as a bagger at Harris Teeter, a local grocery. Here’s more of Sam’s interview with Gabi, who was flying to Detroit with her Mom to be a vendor at the National Down Syndrome Society’s Adult Down Syndrome Summit the day after we talked.
How often do you work at events? “We try to do at least one event a week. I love traveling— I really love it with my mom. Sometimes the events are boring, but I just go with it. I love it when they have dessert and dancing.”
What makes you happiest? “Making deliveries for my business, dancing, breakdancing, gymnastics, and singing. I did breakdancing at NC State Best Buddies. I also like hanging out with friends and going shopping.”
We love the logo for your shop! Who came up with A HUG IN A MUG? “The lady that designed the logo came up with it. Her name is Rhonda. She’s a friend of my mom’s. She did that because I give a lot of hugs.”
What’s the hardest thing for you? “Nothing is hard for me. Maybe packing up for events for the coffee shop, but it’s all good.”
What’s the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you? “My dad being goofy.”
What do you like to do more than anything in the world? “I love playing with my dog, Willow.”
Tell us what you want people to know about you. “Gabrielle Angelini is cute.”
What keeps you busy these days in addition to your business? “I do Special Olympics skiing and gymnastics and basketball, and summer camp at New Life Camp—it’s a Christian camp that has sports. I also go to Wake Tech on Monday through Thursday, from 8 to 3. They teach me basic math and reading, and I’m starting a barista class.”
In addition to having lots of coffee shops, what are your dreams for the future? “To play basketball, and to get a husband and a mansion.”