WHEELERSBURG Tammy Salmons dared to open a coffee shop during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We opened the Saturday before Labor Day,” she said of Adam’s Flying Pig Coffee Shop in Wheelersburg.

“It was scary and challenging because of the pandemic,” she said. “We were going to open in March, but decided with everything going on, we’d put it off.”

She said her family was in touch with the coffee supplier that trained them — Crimson Cup Coffee Beans in Columbus — so they decided to “feel” their way through with opening. Salmons also said they have paid close attention to Ohio’s guidelines for eateries.

“We just decided to do it while we can and, if we have to close, we’ll close,” she said.

But with the drive-through window, the coffee house pushed head.

Salmons said her true reason for wanting to open the coffee house is to help people like her son, Adam, 26, who is autistic.

“It does alleviate fears about his future, and honestly, I just wanted this for him and people like him who are adults with challenges who aren’t doing anything as adults,” she said. Adam, though, also works at McDonald’s and Sonora, a Mexican restaurant in Portsmouth. He also attends STAR workshops, which educate him on life skills and give him entertainment and socialization opportunities. “A lot of families don’t know what to do with their adult child and they lose their social life, their routines, and I thought if I had a place, I can can employ some people and give them the right kind of supports, that would work out great.”

The coffee house employs 12 now, and Adam is the only challenged one, but his mother said she hopes to hire challenged adults by spring; she said understanding the coffee service is difficult, and she has expanded the menu, so training is more complex, which slows down the process of hiring.

“I want to concentrate on people with difficulties when I can totally give them my time and attention,” she said.

Challenged people will include those with Down Syndrome, severe attention deficit or severe anxiety.

At the coffee house, Adam helps make drinks, among other duties.

“When the baristas are hired, I tell them about Adam and tell them that their future will be working with people with challenges and that I hope they are looking to be compassionate and patient,” Salmons said. “Most people with these issues can do anything, with some help, and he loves to feel proud about the job and the things he accomplishes, and that’s a great thing.”

Adam doesn’t drink coffee, but he enjoys the atmosphere of the coffee house.

“Over the years, if we go out of town, we would always find a coffee shop and he’d research where they were and we’d visit them,” Salmons said. “He’d get a Pepsi and a cookie and we’d get coffee.”

Now, he makes and serves the coffee drinks himself, as well as cleans and sanitizes and works stocking the pantry — all the things that need to be done at a coffee house.

Salmons said as a high-functioning person with autism, Adam is not only able to drive, but he’s a good driver. She said he never drives alone, and usually drives the family where they need to do.

“I feel like the more he can do, it will enrich his life,” she said.

(606) 326-2661 |

lward@dailyindependent.com

Adam’s Flying Pig Coffee House, at 9107 Ohio River Road in Wheelersburg, is open from Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. In addition to coffees, the shop sells pastries, some breakfast items and chicken salad croissant sandwiches, with soups to be added soon. The store has a Facebook site and will soon have its own website.

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