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Man with Down syndrome opens coffee shop

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Augstell set up his business through a program which helps people with developmental disabilities meet their goals. (KTRK)

George Augstell, a 27 year-old man with Down syndrome, is living out his dream.

Augstell owns Uncle Bill's Coffee Stop in recently opened Golisano Center for Community Health. He picks the inventory, handles the money and interacts with customers. He's truly the boss.

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George set up his business through People Inc's Self-Directed Services Program, which helps people with developmental disabilities meet their goals.

"He can say, 'this is what I want to do, this is my dream, this is my goal' and then he can hire people like Eddie into place, he can say, this is how I want to expand, so we can get the right people in there to help him," said Kristen Obarka, an independent support broker.

Obarka helped George develop a budget using money from the state's Office of Persons with Developmental Disabilities.

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"We're helping him market and he's going to be working on connecting with other vendors, so he can help grow his business as well," said Obarka.

George named the coffee shop after his uncle William Gee, a Niagara Falls Police Department officer who died of cancer in 2013.

"I miss him a lot, he's good with people, he was the greatest uncle of all time and that's why I say Uncle Bill's Coffee Stop, not shop," said Augstell.

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George hopes that starting his business at the Golisano Center with serve as inspiration for others with disabilities.

"To help other people like me get jobs, for a coffee stop, and to help people like me," said Augstell.

TWC News reports that George hopes to open more shops in the future.
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