MIAMI (WSVN) - A South Florida bakery is doing more than just selling authentic Italian food. It’s educating customers about the Best Buddies program while helping the organization fulfill one of its missions.

“They make first-class employees, change the vibe and culture of the company for the better,” said Best Buddies CEO Anthony Shriver.

Shriver is talking about employees like Guillermo Almazan, who has been working at Rosetta Bakery in Brickell since July. This is Almazan’s first-ever paying job.

“I am more independent. I pay my bills and help my mom to pay her bills. I have more confidence to speak to people,” Almazan said.

That job is thanks to a unique partnership between Best Buddies and Rosetta.

“It allows us to celebrate our mission of inclusions, allows us to put people with intellectual and physical disabilities to work in the community, allows us to showcase the brand in a retail way,” Shriver said.

The Brickell location has been open for seven months, and Shriver said despite the pandemic, business is booming.

There are plans to further expand the concept in places around the world.

“Our goal is to open 300 of these globally, and when we get to that achievement, we’ll be making a lot of money for the charity without asking people for donations,” Shriver said. “They’ll be coming in and getting good products, eating good food, getting coffee. Hopefully, they’ll know their money is going to Best Buddies, but if they don’t, we’re making money.”

Shriver said he hopes other employers realize this is a concept that works and encourages others to hire people with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

Channel 7 and The Ansin Foundation continue to be a proud sponsor of Best Buddies.

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