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Manufacturing Venture that Will Employ Blind and Visually Impaired People

Author: Lighthouse for the Blind-Saint Louis

Published: 2011-03-16

Synopsis and Key Points:

The joint venture will employ an additional four full-time legally blind persons combined at both nonprofit agencies.

Main Digest

Lighthouse for the Blind-Saint Louis Partnering with Zep, Inc. and Envision, Inc. In Manufacturing Venture that Will Employ Blind & Visually Impaired People - Aerosol Products will be Assembled by Employees at Lighthouse Plant in St. Louis County.

Lighthouse for the Blind-Saint Louis, a not-for-profit corporation that assists legally blind people maintain dignity and independence by offering Employment, Education and Support Services, announces a partnership agreement with Zep, Inc. of Atlanta, Georgia, and Envision, Inc. of Wichita, Kansas, to manufacture a new line of co-branded aerosol metered air freshener products.

John Thompson, President, Lighthouse for the Blind-St. Louis, said, "This new partnership with Zep, Inc. and Envision should have a profound impact on our ability to grow our business and expand employment for people who are blind. I think the partnership should pay dividends for both organizations well into the future."

Lighthouse for the Blind-Saint Louis and Envision, Inc., which is also a not-for-profit service agency for blind and visually impaired persons, will manufacture and assemble aerosol metered air freshener products including the Meter Mist and GreenLink brands, which will be co-branded as SKILCRAFT® products.

The partnership is in conjunction with the AbilityOne program, a federal initiative to help blind and disabled people find employment through nonprofit agencies that sell products and services to the U.S. government. AbilityOne 's SKILCRAFT® brand is recognized by 95 percent of federal government purchasers. The aerosol metered air freshener products manufactured by Lighthouse for the Blind-Saint Louis and Envision will be distributed through AbilityOne sales channels. The program is endorsed by the National Industries for the Blind (NIB), which operates under the AbilityOne program.

John K. Morgan, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Zep, Inc., said, "This new relationship with NIB, AbilityOne, Lighthouse for the Blind-Saint. Louis and Envision is an extension of our culture of service to customers and the community. The mission of these organizations is to enhance the economic and personal independence of people who are blind by creating, sustaining, and improving employment opportunities. By partnering with these two organizations, Zep, Inc. is helping National Industries for the Blind fulfill its mission."

The joint venture will employ an additional four full-time legally blind persons combined at both nonprofit agencies. Also known as LHB Industries, the Lighthouse was founded in 1933 and today maintains offices and manufacturing facilities that currently employ more than 65 legally blind persons in the cities of Overland and Berkeley in St. Louis County. The Lighthouse manufactures, assembles, warehouses and sells high-quality products to government and commercial customers including first aid kits, medical kits, catheters, aerosol and liquid paints, aerosol and liquid cleaning products and many others. The Lighthouse also maintains a Class 8 clean room and offers Ethylene Oxide (EtO) sterilization.

Mr. Thompson said, "Lighthouse for the Blind-Saint Louis is a privately chartered 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation that is committed to providing a supportive environment where our employees can count on developing new and productive skills that will assist them in reaching amazing levels of independence."

Zep, Inc., with fiscal 2010 net sales of almost $570 million, is a leading producer, marketer, and service provider of many cleaning and maintenance solutions for commercial, industrial, institutional, and consumer end-markets. Envision, Inc. is a private, not-for-profit agency that combines employment opportunities with rehabilitation services and public education.

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