[vendtalk] A few things

Kevan Worley kevanworley at blindmerchants.org
Mon Nov 2 19:30:20 UTC 2009

Greetings colleagues and friends,


Here we are in November. Thanksgiving and Christmas just ahead. I have a
couple of quick updates. I know that not everyone has the time to check the
merchant message line every week. Moreover, I can go on a bit. In other
words, I can get a bit windy. :-) At least I mean well.


1.         Remember that there is no 2010 BLAST (Business Leadership and
Superior Training). This past Spring we worked with the leadership of NCSAB,
BEA, the Department of Education and RSVA to advance the notion that
resources, both time and money, could be conserved significantly if we
developed one large training and networking conference. We have been part of
a leadership group working with RSA to make this a reality. When we
committed to this effort, we suggested that neither organization, RSVA or
NABM, should conduct the Brush conference in Vegas or the BLAST conference
in 2010. Originally, we were given to understand that many of those in
leadership at RSVA supported the all for one, one for all conference. After
all, a few of their leaders have, over the years, voiced the idea that "we
should all work together and if NABM would, we would." Unfortunately, a few
of those who command decision making at RSVA, chose to pull out of the
coalition for a national conference effort. They will continue to hold their
Vegas event and at the same time, want a seat on the larger coalition
conference. In a spirit of inclusiveness, NABM has not opposed this. After
all, what we are really aiming for is a training event which will bring true
education which empowers blind vendors and expands Randolph-Sheppard
opportunities. It seems to be an unimportant and ludicrous distraction, if
we are sidetracked from this mission by one ill intentioned or uninformed
individual or two. 


So, no BLAST in 2010, but we seek your ideas. What subjects would
significantly bring benefits to the way you manage your business? We are
hoping to have a conference in the Washington DC area in mid May or early
June. Let me stress that this has not been confirmed! The planning committee
is working closely with the Rehabilitation Services Administration to seek
funding and locate hotel and conference facilities with rates and
accommodations which will meet our needs. As you can imagine, I have
received many calls from blind vendors and state agencies about BLAST -
where, when, etc. Please pass along to your state agencies and all blind
vendors that there will be no "BLAST", but that we are working hard with the
Dept of Education and other partners to develop a useful, and hopefully
important, education and networking event.


2.	You may have heard that during the discussion of healthcare reform,
there has been some collateral discussion of mandating that any vending
company with more than 20 machines would have to put highly visible signage
on or near machines which would indicate the caloric count of all of the
products. Of course, the blind vendors around the nation, who are affiliated
with NABM in particular, and many SLA's have been using tools such as NAMA's
Balanced for Life and taken other approaches to inform building management
and customers about calories and nutritional content of foods, snacks and
drinks. We are on Capitol Hill advocating against any mandates which would
severely hinder profitable vending and concession operations. We are
collaborating as much as possible with NAMA and other organizations. 


Remember that the NFB national seminar will be at the Holiday Inn Capitol at
550 C Street Southwest, beginning on Monday, February 1, 2010 through
Wednesday February 3, 2010. We will have a Randolph-Sheppard discussion
group from 2pm - 4pm on Monday afternoon, February 1. And of course, Dr.
Maurer will gavel the Great Gathering In to order at 5pm that afternoon. It
will last two hours. We will deal with subjects and legislative initiatives
of significant importance to the blind, including blind vendors. On Monday,
Tuesday and Wednesday, we will be heading up to Capitol Hill to meet with
legislators and their staff members. We will definitely want to go to talk
about Reading Rights for the Blind, the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act,
changes in social security, and Randolph-Sheppard. Other groups of people
with disabilities, particularly those who would like to cut into our
priority, have done a great job of branding what they do with members of
Congress. We need to step up our effort in 2010. Attending our NFB
Washington seminar and spending a day or two up on Capitol Hill with us
helps to protect this program. For information and to make hotel
reservations, please call Diane McGeorge. Her office is at the Colorado
Center for the Blind. Reservations are to be made directly through Diane at


3.	Still time to order the Louis Braille Commemorative Silver Dollars.
The rare, higher silver content silver dollar, which is the most
collectible, is $44. It is called the Proof. Now, the uncirculated, which is
the best one to take out and let people touch the Braille, has a slightly
less silver content. Still, it is an extraordinary symbol for Braille
literacy. The uncirculated is $33.95. Either silver dollar you order will
also cost a $10 shipping and ordering fee. Not per coin, but per order. Some
blind vendors have ordered 20 or 30 of these coins. They are selling them at
their businesses. I carry one out of its case in my pocket all the time. I
tell people about Louis Braille, the NFB, and the need to fund Braille
literacy programs. I also carry two in my left pocket. They are still in
their boxes. If I can sell these guys a coin, I have one in my pocket to
sell them. Many are intrigued by the actual embossed, touchable Braille on
the coin. They are an easy sell. 


4.	The NFB and NABM will continue to support the Blind Entrepreneurs
Alliance in 2010. After discussion of our board and leadership group, and
with Dr. Maurer, we believe the protection that the BEA has afforded
Randolph-Sheppard over this past two years has been significant. We believe
that we have fought off a number of significant challenges because of this
ad hoc approach through the Blind Entrepreneurs Alliance. Given the
challenges we face from changes at the postal service, potential changes to
the service transportation act, an unresponsiveness GSA, changing
administration at the Dept of Education, and possible Congressional
challenges or regulation changes which could affect our large cafeteria
management opportunities, it is vital that we continue our robust support
for the Blind Entrepreneurs Alliance. The National Association of Blind
Merchants has pledged $10,000 at the outset to ensure that we will continue
a contract with Linchpin Strategies in 2010. We know that a number of
consultant private sector companies, blind vendors and other organizations
must also increase their support for the BEA. Currently the National
Federation of the Blind and NCSAB have pledged the most significant dollars
as we move into 2010. But we know of other groups who are now contemplating
the amount they will provide. We will also encourage all blind vendors to
make a contribution. Some could afford $50, some could afford $3,000 or
$4,000. The point is, all business owners spend money, time and energy to
protect their businesses. This program has been good for us. We all wish it
could be better, and we want to protect it. There will inevitably be a cost
for this. Attending NFB Washington seminar and financially supporting the
NABM as we support BEA is part of the cost. We believe the return on the
investment is worth it and necessary. 


Thanks. Make some money this week! Keep the faith.


At Your Service, 

Kevan Worley

President, National Association of Blind Merchants


There is a Braille literacy crisis in America.

You can be part of the solution.

=-1&storeId=10001&catalogId=10001&identifier=4000> Buy the Louis Braille
Bicentennial Silver Dollar now!


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