Mercedes-Benz Stadium outside view of the venue's facade

Mercedes-Benz Stadium Welcomes Java Joy Coffee

Press Release
Stadium News

Java Joy Will Serve Coffee While Changing the Unemployment Rate for Adults with Disabilities

ATLANTA—(September 23, 2021)— Java Joy, a program of parent non-profit ESP, is launching a permanent coffee cart inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium. While the program has a mobile cart traveling to different venues in Atlanta, becoming a vendor at Mercedes-Benz Stadium allows Java Joy to hire and provide meaningful employment to more adults with disabilities in the Atlanta area.

In the Atlanta area, Mercedes-Benz Stadium is also the first major venue to build a partnership with a nonprofit to employ people with disabilities. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 was the highest year of unemployment for adults with disabilities in the United States. In Georgia, 68 percent of Georgians with a disability are unemployed. Even more, 25 percent of individuals with disabilities were at or below the poverty rate. The partnership of Java Joy with Mercedes-Benz Stadium is working to change this statistic. Mercedes-Benz Stadium has over 50 publicly ticketed events per year meaning at least 50 shifts for Java Joy’s employees, Joyristas®, each year. This permanent cart also allows the organization to hire at least 15 more Joyristas®.

Java Joy spreads unmatched joy through moments of engagement with people of all abilities. By employing Joyristas® to give hugs, interact with customers and serve delicious coffee, Java Joy brings unfiltered joy that is transformative to customers and community members. The partnership with Mercedes-Benz Stadium will extend Java Joy’s engagement to over three million fans who visit the Mercedes-Benz Stadium each year, with many from outside of Georgia. Three million people who may never otherwise have had an opportunity to connect with a person with a disability will now be able to meaningfully engage with a Joyrista®.

“One of the core values of our organization is to ‘Include Everyone’ and we could not be prouder to partner with a company like Java Joy who is employing and empowering adults with disabilities at Mercedes-Benz Stadium,” said Harry Hynekamp, VP of Fan Experience at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Java Joy is committed to changing communities for the better through the powerful moments of engagement that happen during a Java Joy experience. “Java Joy is more than a coffee cart, it is a transformative experience for celebrating inclusion and diversity inclusion and diversity. Java Joy provides employees and customers of all backgrounds a meaningful interaction engaging people with disabilities while providing a give-back opportunity as they help employ them. We are dedicated to spreading awareness about the abilities of people with disabilities,” said Java Joy co-founder Laura Whitaker.

“Java Joy is extremely excited to partner with Mercedes-Benz Stadium as we grow to serve more adults with disabilities in the Atlanta area. We hope to change the unemployment rate for adults with disabilities and this is a big step forward in providing meaningful employment to people of all abilities. This partnership is bringing something really unique to the table - a permanent location that provides our Joyristas with a set schedule of events we have not had before,” said Java Joy National Expansion Manager, Erica Cates.

Java Joy will launch in Mercedes-Benz Stadium beginning this weekend with a cart near section 116. For more information about Java Joy, visit:


About Java Joy

Java Joy is a program of parent non-profit ESP that spreads unmatched joy through moments of engagement with people of all abilities. Java Joy operates as a mobile catering coffee cart served by Joyrista, a combination of the words joy + barista. Java Joy provides job training, self-confidence, and meaningful work for people of all abilities.

About ESP

Extra Special People, Inc., (ESP), a 501 (c)(3) is a non-profit serving families and their children with disabilities in the eight-county area surrounding Watkinsville, Ga., since 1986. ESP exists to create transformative experiences for people with disabilities and their families, changing communities for the better. With ever-expanding after-school programs, weekend clubs, an eight-week long summer camp and family resources, ESP now reaches more than 700 families.

Contributing to this dream was the addition of 70 acres in Jackson County in December 2014. Hooray will one day continue the ESP mission by hosting overnight camps, weekend retreats, and events for children and families of all abilities.

For More Information, Contact:

Marcella Genut, (706) 666-4147

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