10-year-old Camden “Cam” Myers, the young entrepreneur of “Cam’s Coffee” opened his then pop-up style coffee shop in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, to build his confidence. Now, Cam’s Coffee is a thriving business that employs people with disabilities. Cam’s drive to empower himself through his coffee business and give back to people in need is why young Cam won a “Youth of the Year” award from the Winston-Salem Chronicle in 2017.
What influenced Cam’s entrepreneurial spirit was his experience as a child born with a traumatic brain injury that resulted in nerve damage and cognitive delays. Simple tasks like holding a pencil or tying shoes is difficult for Cam and as he got older, his self-esteem suffered. But Cam’s Coffee strengthen his resolve and reinforced his talents even when it was just a hobby.
The company started at home — a time when Cam’s Coffee was just family time. It was a “no tech, no cell phone zone,” his mother Latasha Lewis said. Cam didn’t drink coffee, rather, it was a concoction of warm milk, a little coffee and brown sugar or cinnamon. This moment served as a turning point for Cam because he loved the science and fellowship of making coffee.
At age 7, Cam started selling cups of coffee and hot chocolate at a local hair salon on the weekends, according to Winston-Salem Journal. Selling to local businesses fulfilled Cam, and his mother was able to educate him on setting goals, math and social skills he’ll need to thrive in his business and in life.
“Even with years of therapy, we saw more progress in him just operating his own business,” Lewis said. “He came up with the idea he wanted to grow a, quote unquote, big business, and that he wanted that business to help other people, like him.”
All employees at Cam’s Coffee are people with a disability — Cam’s Coffee is providing a service and needed resource for the community. Cam’s Coffee said they’re “the first organization to create gainful employment opportunities specifically for individuals with intellectual and physical disabilities in the Winston-Salem area.” Cam’s Coffee also partnered with “BeSpoke Confections,” a local organization that hires people with autism to get their baked goods.
For people who are unable to make it to Cam’s Winston-Salem storefront at 101 North Chestnut, you can purchase Cam’s Coffee products online.