An American coffee chain has opened its first branch in Oxfordshire.
Gloria Jean’s opened its doors to customers on Saturday (May 7) at Castle Quay Shopping Centre in Banbury.
The branch was opened by branch director Amir Rashid, Banbury town mayor councillor Shaida Hussain and Conservative councillor Fiaz Ahmed, who represents Hardwick West.
The coffee and chiller house was established in a small town outside of Chicago in 1979 and now has establishments in over 50 countries, serving more than 90,000 coffees to people around the world every day.
Alongside coffee and chilled drinks, Gloria Jean’s will serve breakfasts, burgers and high teas as well as vegetarian and vegan options.
The branch will also seek to employ people with autism, ADHD, and Down’s syndrome, among a range of other disabilities.
It will offer the chance for parents of employees to be trained alongside their dependents with disabilities.
Dr Hisham Haq, director of Gloria Jean’s, said, “The inspiration for Gloria Jeans Banbury was to provide an empathetic environment where people with disabilities could be trained and earn a dignified living.
“We’re committed to building a unified family that consistently serves the highest quality coffee and provides outstanding and personalised services in a vibrant atmosphere.”
Dr Haq’s son has autism and he was keen for the Banbury outlet to be socially conscious.
He hopes by employing people of various abilities it will give them new opportunities and change perspectives in the local community about disabled people.
“We are getting better as a society at being more accepting but the job opportunities are few and far between, so as an employer we wanted to make that one of our key drivers,” Mr Haq added.
Mr Rasheed said: “Our goal is to be the most loved and respected coffee company in the world and we are working tirelessly to serve the highest quality coffee while making each and every one of our guests feel like they are returning home when they step into one of our coffee houses.”
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Oliver Wren, centre director at Castle Quay Shopping Centre, said, “Gloria Jean’s is a brilliant new addition - the shop looks really impressive and their drive to support every type of person is truly inspiring.
“The coffee they serve is some of the tastiest I have ever tried so I have no doubt it will go down a storm with our customers.”
Gloria Jean’s Banbury can be found at 11 High Street, Banbury, OX16 5EE and is open Monday to Saturday 8am to 6pm and Sunday 9am to 5pm.
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