FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release Date: 
Monday, October 9, 2006
Category: 
John G. Paré Jr.
Director of Public Relations
National Federation of the Blind
(410) 659-9314, extension 2371
(410) 913-3912 (Cell)

National Federation of the Blind and Dunkin’ Donuts Celebrate One Year of Success

Contract Demonstrates that Randolph-Sheppard Vendors and Private Businesses Make Good Partners

JERSEY CITY, NEW JERSEY, October 9, 2006: The National Federation of the Blind and Dunkin’ Donuts announced today that the first year of a partnership between the Massachusetts-based corporation made famous by its coffee and baked goods and a licensed vendor under the Randolph-Sheppard Act has been a stunning success. The Randolph-Sheppard Act provides business opportunities for the blind by granting licenses that allow qualified persons to operate food-service facilities on federal property. The program generates over half a billion dollars in gross receipts annually.

October 2006 marks the one-year anniversary of the opening of a full-service Dunkin’ Donuts operation within the café operated by Nicky Gacos, a Randolph-Sheppard vendor. Gacos is licensed by the state of New Jersey to provide food service to the 3,500 employees of the International Bulk Mail Facility, the largest mail-processing center in the United States. This month also marks the annual Meet the Blind Month public education campaign of the National Federation of the Blind.

“Having Dunkin’ Donuts in my operation has significantly expanded my business,” said Gacos, who also serves sandwiches and entrees to the postal workers, as well as stocking and maintaining the facility’s 90 vending machines. Gacos also serves as vice president and director of national accounts for the National Association of Blind Merchants, an affiliate of the National Federation of the Blind, which is made up of Randolph-Sheppard vendors and other blind business owners. He believes that the success of his operation will lead to opportunities for other vendors across the nation to include Dunkin’ Donuts products in their operations.

The success of the Dunkin’ Donuts location in New Jersey has already resulted in the opening of a second franchise in a state office building in Wilmington, Delaware, in partnership with a blind vendor. Kevan Worley, president of the National Association of Blind Merchants, said: “We are very optimistic that the model we have established with Dunkin’ Donuts will result in more private companies partnering with energetic and committed Randolph-Sheppard vendors to increase the ability of all parties to add value to their business.”

Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “The Randolph-Sheppard program is the most successful career program for the blind in history because it does not merely provide employment for the blind, but allows them to become successful entrepreneurs. This groundbreaking partnership illustrates that Randolph-Sheppard business owners can work with private industry to provide the best customer service in their vending locations. Relationships like this one benefit both Randolph-Sheppard licensees and established brand-name businesses, and will doubtless lead to greater opportunity for the blind in the future.”

Gacos, who has grown his business over the past three years by focusing on the needs of his customers, explained that he had begun to observe a trend of Dunkin’ Donuts stores opening in train stations and supermarkets. After conducting a survey of all of the employees in the postal facility, he learned that there was overwhelming support for a Dunkin’ Donuts on the premises. “When these workers come in very early in the morning or get off from the night shift, they like to be able to purchase their favorite brand of coffee and doughnuts here, instead of having to stop on the way to work or on the way home,” Gacos said. “As a business owner, my goal is to provide my customers with the brands they know and the services they want, and this new partnership is a way for me to meet that goal.”

Robert Rodriguez, Dunkin’ Donuts Brand Officer, said: “Everyone here at Dunkin Donuts’ is thrilled with the overwhelming success of the International Bulk Mail Facility location. We are extremely glad that Mr. Gacos approached us with the opportunity to serve the dedicated federal employees there, and we could not have asked for a better partner than he has proved to be. We look forward to working with the National Association of Blind Merchants to repeat this achievement across the country.”