Long time special education teacher Kim Kaczmarek stepped down from her teaching position not to retire, but to start a new adventure: creating a coffee shop that would employ people with differing abilities. She had a dream to make a difference in the lives of her former students and so many like them and that dream is taking shape as Sleepy Coffee Too, a coffee shop she is developing in Sleepy Hollow, New York.
Kim and the Sleepy Coffee Too team held a fundraiser on World Down Syndrome Day and the event featured a talk from John and Mark X. Cronin of John’s Crazy Socks. Supporters packed the room at J.P. Doyles restaurant to help Sleepy Coffee Too get off the ground and to hear the Cronins speak.
Kim said, “When I was teaching at Sleepy Hollow High School, we ran in in-house coffee shop and it was a great success. I kept thinking, could we do this outside of school, could we build something that would employ people and contribute to the community.”
Kim added, “I had invited John and Mark to speak to the students at Sleepy Hollow High School. They were so engaging and so inspiring, I thought, if they could make their dream a reality, I could too.”
John and Mark know something about turning a dream into reality as that’s what they did with John’s dream of selling crazy socks. Now, John’s Crazy Socks is the world’s largest sock store. John and Mark know something about employing people with differing abilities since more than half their employees have a differing ability. What’s more, they want to show the world the benefits of hiring people with differing abilities.
John says, “Every day, we want to show what is possible.”
Kim and Mark have been talking about Sleepy Hollow Too, sharing experiences and sharing ideas on how to raise funds and bring customers into the planned coffee shop.
Kim said, “I am grateful and encouraged by the support Mark and John and the whole John’s Crazy Socks has given us. Not only did they speak at our fundraiser, they made some videos to promote it.”
Mark X. Cronin said, “We love what Kim is doing. Starting any business is hard and we want Kim to know that she is not alone. We will help in any way we can. We share her mission of showing that hiring people with differing abilities is not altruism, it is good business.”
Sleepy Coffee Too has been established as a 501c3 non-profit. They are scheduled to open in the late summer/early fall of 2022 at 110 Beekman Avenue in Sleepy Hollow, New York. Sleepy Coffee, Too's mission is to provide meaningful training and employment for people with differing abilities in an inclusive cafe workplace. You can support Sleepy Coffee Too by making a contribution to their Go Fund Me campaign.
Keynote and Event Speakers
John and Mark X. Cronin are frequent speakers at conferences and corporate events. They share their entrepreneurial story of how a young man with Down syndrome together with his father created what is today the world’s largest sock store with a mission to spread happiness. Their speaking engagements bring laughter, tears and inspire people to see what is possible for each of us to achieve. They have spoken in person at events across Canada, the United States and Mexico and virtually at events around the world. They have spoken at events for Microsoft, EY, Bank of America, the Special Olympics and the National Down Syndrome Society among others.
Their advocacy work has seen the Cronins testify twice before Congress and speak at the United Nations. Their work has been featured on many national news shows. They are winners of many awards including the EY Entrepreneurs of the Year. They serve on the CEO Commission for Disability Employment and the Neurodiversity at Work Business Roundtable.
John and Mark recently recorded their second TEDx Talk entitled, “Hiring People with People with Differing Abilities is Not Altruism, It Is Good Business.” That Talk is available on YouTube and the TED platform. Their first TEDx Talk entitled Differently Abled People Want to Help Us is also available on YouTube and the TED platform.
About John’s Crazy Socks
John’s Crazy Socks was inspired by John Lee Cronin, a young man with Down syndrome, and his love of colorful and fun socks—what he calls his “crazy socks.” He and his father, Mark X. Cronin, started the company as a social enterprise with a mission of Spreading Happiness™. They do this by offering socks people can love that allows an expression of one’s true self. More than half their employees have a differing ability, and their Giving Back program has raised over $500,000 for charity partners like the Special Olympics, the National Down Syndrome Society and the Autism Society of America. Most of all, they are Spreading Happiness™.
For more information about John’s Crazy Socks, visit our webpage, Facebook page, Instagram account or YouTube channel. You can also contact us at 631-760-5625 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.