#RespectTheAbility Campaign: Spotlight on Iowa
Em’s Coffee Company: Bringing Independence To Independence, Iowa
Independence, Iowa, Jan. 22 – “I like to be the boss.”
That’s one thing Em’s Coffee Co. owner Emilea Hillman likes most about being self-employed.
In a town that has seen several coffee shops go out of business after only two years, Em’s Coffee Co. continues to be a strong, vibrant business since its opening six years ago. Hillman, who arrives at 6 a.m. to make the coffee and open her business, is seriously committed to her work, her employees, and her customers.
Hillman is well known in Iowa for leaving a segregated workshop and becoming a business owner with the support of her family, the Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services’ Self-Employment Program and other agencies. Born with a congenital condition causing a lack of nerve tissue connecting the left and right side of her brain, her parents were given little hope that she would learn to walk or talk, much less that she would ever be gainfully employed.