LIBERTY, Mo. — Great ideas aren’t a walk in the park. They take time.

“I’ve probably been thinking about this for 10 years,” said Vonda Powell, a Liberty businesswoman whose idea took a decade to come to fruition.

“This coffee arts bar needs equipment with a voice and pictures, so there’s not a lot of measuring and weighing. You simply select a picture, and it can make what you’re trying to make for the customer.”

Her business is called Bros Joe’s. Powell went back to UMKC for grad school in 2022 to learn how to make it a reality. The inspiration? Her sons, Adam and Austin, who were born in 2002 and 2001.

“By 2003, I was pretty sure something serious was going on,” she said.

Not only is Powell a former educator, but she taught special ed, which helped her recognize autism in her young sons. Adam is non-verbal and communicates with an iPad. Powell knew that once he and Austin finished school, the services to help them would fade away.

“I think he’d watch videos, watch movies. He’d do laundry and do housework. He has so much more to give than that,” she said.

So, an idea was born. Her coffee shop dreams include making it a place where anyone with special needs can work.

Powell envisions a place that can also help special ed students in Northland school districts get job coaching and training. Not only that, but if someone can’t work because of sensory or medical needs, she’d like to sell their artwork in the shop.

“It’s truly a place where everyone can somehow work, whether they’re there or their things are there,” Powell said.

So far, she’s raised $10,000, but hopes to raise more to buy or rent a building. Her partnership with The Roasterie is allowing Adam to get a head-start on the job by packaging and shipping online orders, and Powell couldn’t be prouder.

I am beyond blessed,” she said.

Bros Joe’s is already a nonprofit with soon-to-be 501c3 status.