Cameron’s is a chocolate and coffee shop in Fairfax that first opened its doors in 2013. Those who do not know the mission of Cameron’s will discover a special facet of the business when they walk through the doors. The shop offers meaningful employment to individuals with various intellectual disabilities, and does so in a community setting that allows the workers to develop skills and relationships in new and exciting ways.
Cameron’s Coffee and Chocolates, located at 9639 Fairfax Boulevard in Fairfax, is named after Cameron Graham. Her parents, Ellen and Jim Graham, created the business for their daughter to have a place where she could make a living doing a job that she loves. In doing so, they have opened this opportunity to other adults with disabilities in the area in need of a community. The program started in 2013 with just four workers, and now there are multiple teams that work every day with their job coaches and alongside non-disabled workers to make the many sweet treats that the shop has to offer.
While employed at Cameron’s, the program participants have many opportunities to develop as working individuals. The purpose of the program is to help these individuals achieve a higher level of independence, which is done by having them to participate in increasingly challenging tasks in accordance with their skill level such as dipping chocolates or serving customers. In addition to everything that occurs in the shop, there are also many opportunities for activities in the area. Workers travel to the grocery store once a week using the CUE bus system, go to orchards in the NOVA area to pick the fresh ingredients for delicious seasonal goods including jams and salsas, and sometimes plan outings as a group on the weekend where they can have a new experience and hang out together.
The treats that the shop offers are ever-changing. Cameron’s uses only the finest Belgian chocolate to create an array of delicious products. Among the chocolate selection, there is sure to be something for everyone with many types of truffles, caramels, solid chocolates, dipped nuts, and barks. The bakery offers a selection of muffins, cookies, bars, and cupcakes that have a new flavor every day, with additional gluten-free options on Fridays. For a caffeine fix, choose from a wide selection of flavored or unflavored coffee drinks as well as teas, green tea lattes, boba tea, and smoothies.
Due to the to the support of customers, donors, volunteers, and the community, Cameron’s is currently expanding the physical store into the space adjacent to the original shop in order to create more space for the growing business. Adding more kitchen and training space will facilitate the continued growth of the business and employ even more individuals who will benefit greatly from working in an environment designed for them to be fully integrated in the community. Visit Cameron’s and see it for yourself!