[Colorado-talk] Denver Business Journal Article on Randall Crosby

Beth Taurasi denverqueen1107 at comcast.net
Thu Jun 12 12:07:46 UTC 2014

On 6/6/2014 3:13 PM, Dan Burke via Colorado-talk wrote:
> Nice article - here's the link if you want to comment on the article,
> but I've pasted the entire article below it as well.
> Dann
> http://www.bizjournals.com/denver/news/2014/06/03/more-on-the-cover-story-tuesday-sidebar.html
> More on the cover story: Being blind doesn't mean you can't be in
> business - Denver Business Journal
> >From the Denver Business Journal
> :http://www.bizjournals.com/denver/news/2014/06/03/more-on-the-cover-story-tuesday-sidebar.html
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> Jun 3, 2014, 4:05am MDT
> More on the cover story: Being blind doesn't mean you can't be in business
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> crosby
> L. Wayne Hicks | Denver Business Journal
> Randall Crosby, at Crosby's Cafe, 1525 Sherman St., Denver
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> 1937571/waynehicksmug2013
> definition list of 1 items
> L. Wayne Hicks
> Associate Editor- Denver Business Journal
> Email
>    |
> LinkedIn
>    |
> Google+
>    |
> Cultural Attache blog
> list end
> Randall Crosby
>   relies on trust and technology to get through the day.
> Crosby, an entrepreneur who happens to be blind, operates two downtown
> Denver cafeterias, both named Crosby's Cafe. One, in the basement of
> the state Capitol
> building, is small -- just 600 square feet. The other, on the first
> floor of the State Services Building at 1525 Sherman St., measures
> 3,200 square feet.
> With five employees, including wife Patty and their daughter,
> Stephanie, Crosby manages to do something he wasn't sure he would ever
> be able to do again:
> work.
> See Also
> list of 1 items
> * DBJ cover story: Workers with disabilities are breaking barriers
> list end
> Diagnosed at age 8 with retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative eye
> disease, Crosby had relatively normal vision for most of his youth.
> Night blindness and
> a loss of his peripheral vision were the biggest problems.
> He worked on his family's farm in Florida, got a job after high school
> in the purchasing department of a Marriott hotel in Naples, married
> and had two
> children. But at age 27, he had to give up driving and then his job
> when his vision worsened.
> "I walked out of the human resources office at Marriott in 1989,
> telling myself, 'You'll never have a job again. Ever. Nobody's going
> to hire you because
> you're blind'," recalled Crosby, now 53.
> Crosby stayed home for the next 18 months, taking care of his son and daughter.
> "I was Mr. Mom," he said. "I was there for my kids. To stay home, that
> was my role. My wife had to take on the role of earning the income and
> paying the
> bills, paying for our modest home and car payments and keeping us
> above water. She did that so effectively and well."
> Then, Crosby said, he heard about "this amazing program." The program,
> under the Randolph-Sheppard Act of 1936 -- signed into law by President
> Franklin D. Roosevelt
>   -- creates an opportunity for blind people to own and operate
> cafeterias in government buildings.
> "Instead of being on unemployment or disability ... we are owners of
> businesses that not only employ ourselves, we employ other people as
> well," Crosby said.
> Crosby applied for and was accepted into the program. For eight years,
> until the contract was canceled in 1998, he operated a cafeteria at a
> vocational
> technical college in Naples. He was invited to try for another
> location and wound up in Merritt Island, at the Kennedy Space Center.
> Crosby would be there still were it not for the end of the space
> shuttle program. NASA ended the shuttle program in 2011, prompting the
> elimination of
> about 7,000 jobs. Over the course of about two months, sales at
> Crosby's cafeteria at Kennedy Space Center fell by 70 percent.
> Crosby's time among NASA's best and brightest is visible in his two
> cafeterias. A framed miniature flag that was flown aboard the shuttle
> Atlantis' last
> flight hangs in the state Capitol location. Autographed photos of
> astronauts are on display in his larger cafe across the street.
> Even more interesting are the framed articles about Crosby's
> accomplishments as a runner. Crosby has competed in more than 70
> races, including 5Ks, marathons
> and triathlons. He was completely blind when he started running,
> having lost the last of his vision seven years ago and learned to
> navigate by use of a
> white cane.
> "It wasn't usable sight," Crosby said. "It wasn't doing me any good,
> other than psychologically it was telling me I still had sight. I
> could see the blue
> sky and the green grass, but I couldn't see people. I wasn't able to
> drive or walk around around without using a cane. But in my mind I had
> sight still.
> I became totally blind. That very day and moment it happened, I knew.
> It was a huge loss. You might as well have cut my leg or my arm off,
> it was that
> significant. Even though I knew it was coming all these years, it was
> very traumatic when it happened."
> Crosby ran his first race, on the shuttle landing strip, in October
> 2006, only after prompting by
> George "Gabe" Gabrielle,
> an engineer at the Kennedy Space Center. Crosby had been navigating
> his neighborhood using a cane. Working up to the race, Gabrielle got
> Crosby to leave
> his cane at home, walk with him through the neighborhood and then jog
> alongside him.
> "That's part of the Kennedy Space Center experience," Crosby said.
> "The mindset is you can do anything."
> He ran the 5K, and it was slow going. But Crosby was hooked on running
> after he crossed the finish line, where he was cheered, his hand
> shaken and his
> back slapped.
> (About 11 months later, for another race on the shuttle landing strip,
> Gabrielle ran blindfolded to get a sense of what Crosby faced.)
> Crosby continued to run with Gabrielle as his guide; he was the only
> person he trusted at first to guide him. Now Crosby often shows up for
> a race not
> knowing who will be his guide.
> "I really evolved greatly on the trust issue," he said.
> Crosby and his wife moved to Colorado two years ago; their daughter
> was already here. Crosby took over both the Capitol and the 1525
> Sherman St. cafes
> in November 2012. But the Sherman Street location was closed for about
> 10 months for a complete remodel after the Colorado Department of Law
> vacated the
> building for the Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center in January 2013.
> Crosby spends most of his time at the 1525 Sherman St. location;
> business drops by about 80 percent at the Capitol cafe once the
> 120-day legislative session
> ends in early May.
> Technology enables Crosby to run the cash register. A scanner attached
> to an iPad reads the bar code and audibly tells Crosby the price. But
> he has to
> trust his customers to give him the right amount of money. Coins feel
> different from each other; paper money doesn't.
> Crosby said he doesn't know what he would have wound up doing if he
> hadn't come across the program that allowed him to become an
> entrepreneur. But he's
> glad he did, and Crosby is willing to take on a third location if one
> becomes available.
> "I would be open to it," he said.
> block quote
> L. Wayne Hicks is associate editor of the Denver Business Journal,
> writes the "Cultural Attache" blog, and compiles the daily "Morning
> Edition" email.
> Phone: 303-803-9221.
> block quote end
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I knew Mr. Crosby when he lived not too far from me.  I sold him girl 
scout cookies.  God, I regret giving him the order form.  Oh no, I 
forgot he had been going blind.  My dad used to be one of his guides as 
well.  Just my thoughts.

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