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Moore Love Spotlight: Not Your Average Joe

Boy serving coffee
  • District
  • Moore Love
Anna Aguilar

The owners of Not Your Average Joe, a growing Oklahoma coffee business, pride themselves on not only the exceptionalism of their coffee but also the exceptionalism of the people in their shops.

by Victoria Stephens for 19th Street Magazine

Driving through any given town in Oklahoma, there appears to be a coffee shop on every corner, but finding an exceptional one is not so simple. The owners of Not Your Average Joe, a growing Oklahoma coffee business, pride themselves on not only the exceptionalism of their coffee but also the exceptionalism of the people in their shops.

Their mission is to inspire the community by including students and adults with intellectual, developmental and physical disabilities.

This year, Not Your Average Joe is the recipient of the Moore Love campaign, a philanthropic school fundraising initiative by Moore Public Schools to give to local nonprofit organizations. Last year, the initiative raised more than $378,000 that went to the Regional Food Bank’s Backpack for Kids Program, Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children, the Mary Abbott House, Bridges Moore and The Sparrow Project.

Not Your Average Joe is hoping the Moore Love campaign can help bring their mission of inspiring the community with an inclusive environment to Moore with one of their beloved coffee shops.

Not Your Average Joe owners, Tim and Lynn Herbel, are about as Moore as it gets. Tim is an NCAA sports commentator who also gives his time to commentate Moore Public Schools games and Lynn has been the Moore High School choir director for more than 10 years. Now, they would like to expand their already growing coffee business to include the Moore community.

My wife and I bleed Moore. It is very much our desire to open a shop in the Moore community. - Tim Herbel

Tim and Lynn are planning a seminar for Moore junior high and high school students to talk about the importance of including people of all abilities.

“Approximately 10 to 12 percent of the average school district student body makeup is made up of those with some kind of neurodiversity that are on an IEP plan or have a diagnosed disability, so that’s a big deal,” Tim said.

They are also planning to talk to students about how you learn more efficiently in an inclusive environment with individuals of all abilities, and how a business practice with integrative principles can have greater success.

“More than 80 percent of neurodivergent people are unemployed,” Tim said. “After they graduate high school, they go home and sit on the couch. They also typically pass away about 20 years earlier than the rest of us. They are excluded.”

Tim saw exclusionary behavior firsthand when his nephew, Braxton, was born with cerebral palsy and hydrocephalus after suffering multiple seizures in the womb. Tim’s brother and his family had difficulties finding the right educational environment for their son.

When Braxton passed away at the age of 11, Tim made a commitment that he would work to somehow create a more inclusive environment for neurodiverse individuals, and in 2019 he made that promise a reality, opening the first Not Your Average Joe coffee shop.

They now have five locations in Oklahoma, including three in Oklahoma City and one in Norman and Bro­ken Arrow. The culture there is known to be, “accep­tional,” meaning they include people of all abilities.

“I love the community and the story behind it,” said Danielle Robinson, a Not Your Average Joe cashier.

Danielle was the shop’s first employee and continues to boast about its amazing coffee and culture four years later. Her mom was unsure what Danielle would do after high school, and that was right around the time the Her­bel family opened their shop. She is not the only one life that Not Your Average Joe’s has changed.

“We have a young man that’s 39 with us who didn’t learn to read and now not only has he had his first job this year at Not Your Average Joe, but he has learned to read,” Tim said.

A part of the coffee shop’s commitment to exception­alism is that they put a lot into the quality of their cup of joe to ensure it exceeds expectations, and their staff is proud of their product and the training provided to their baristas.

“There’s hospitality, there’s southern hospitality, then there’s radical hospitality,” Tim said. “We practice radical hospitality.”

Not Your Average Joe has the first female certified coffee roaster by the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) in the state of Oklahoma and they are the only coffee shop in the state to send a barista to the U.S. Barista Championship. – 19SM

Tim Herbel
Lynn Herbel, MHS Choir Director
Girl serving coffee
Boy serving coffee