FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release Date: 
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Alfonse DeLucia
President
National Federation of the Blind of Connecticut
(860) 289-1971
(410) 262-1281 (Cell)

Greenwich Native Looks Forward to Building New Business

Greenwich, Connecticut (January 16, 2007): Adam Fairbanks, a third-generation citizen of Greenwich and member of the National Federation of the Blind of Connecticut, today becomes the first blind businessman to operate the café at the Old Greenwich Train Station.  Mr. Fairbanks graduated from Greenwich High School and is a recent graduate of the Business Enterprise Program offered by the state Board of Education and Services for the Blind. 

“I’m looking forward to serving my Old Greenwich friends and neighbors who commute to New York City every morning and helping them get off to a good start,” Mr. Fairbanks said.  “I’m very excited about the opportunity to own and operate a business in my community and will make the most of it.”

“I know that the morning cup of coffee or other nourishment these commuters get and the environment in the station sets the tone for their day,” Mr. Fairbanks continued.  “I intend to make it the very best.  I look forward to getting to know all of my customers’ names, tastes, and preferences.  The Old Greenwich Train Station is a beautiful historic landmark.   I intend to preserve the historic look of the station and contribute to the upkeep of the building and grounds.  I’m determined to make this location fit in well with the beauty of Old Greenwich, with Binny Park to the west and Tod’s Point to the east.”

Mr. Fairbanks is the first blind entrepreneur to operate in the Old Greenwich Train Station, through which approximately 400 commuters pass each morning on their way to work.  He was awarded the contract to serve these commuters through the federal Randolph-Sheppard program.  Established under a federal law passed in 1936 and amended and updated in 1974, the program allows blind entrepreneurs to operate food-service businesses on federal, state, and municipal property.  The law gives trained blind operators the first right of refusal to lease contracts bid out by building operators.  The program is financially self-sustaining and does not draw from tax revenue to operate.  Mr. Fairbanks will be entirely responsible for running the concession; including purchasing supplies, preparing the coffee and breakfast foods, maintaining the books, hiring employees, and performing all other business-related functions. 

Alfonse DeLucia, President of the National Federation of the Blind of Connecticut, said: “Blind people face an unemployment rate above seventy percent, primarily because members of the public have many misconceptions and stereotypes about the true capabilities of the blind.  Adam will have the opportunity to demonstrate to these commuters that he can successfully operate a business and provide quality customer service.  I’m always glad to see another blind person starting his own business, and on a personal level, since I’ve known Adam and his family for many years, seeing him start on his journey to success is a great thrill for me.  I know I share that sentiment with the rest of his friends in Old Greenwich and in the National Federation of the Blind of Connecticut.”

Kevan Worley, President of the National Association of Blind Merchants, an affiliate of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “Mr. Fairbanks, like thousands of other blind Americans, is fortunate to have an opportunity to run his own business.  The Randolph-Sheppard program is the most successful federal employment initiative for the blind.  It provides us with good income and builds skills that can lead to future success in other business ventures.  It also gives us opportunities to educate the public about the true capabilities of blind people.  When members of the public see blind individuals successfully operating food service businesses, they are more likely to seriously consider hiring a blind person.”