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Tallahassee business owner with visual impairment opens new micro-market in Southwood

Patrick Martin has opened a new micro-market on the campus of DOH after he says he lost his original business as his eyesight deteriorated.
Published: May. 12, 2022 at 12:33 AM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Tallahassee resident Patrick Martin has just opened a new micro-market on the campus of the Florida Department of Health after he says he lost his original business due to a deteriorating eye condition.

Martin was helped by Blind Services and the Department of Management Services to get the new market open.

Martin has worked in the food industry for more than 25 years but after complications with his eyesight, he thought his career may be over.

“They said it’s time for an eye test and I looked into the eye thing and realized I couldn’t read most of the lines and that was pretty disturbing because it was unexpected,” shared Live Better Inc, CEO Patrick Martin.

Martin was diagnosed with a disease called Stargardt, a rare genetic eye disease that happens when fatty material builds up on the macula, which slowly made his eyesight deteriorate. But then he reached out to the Florida Department of Management Services and the Blind Services’ Business Enterprise Program for assistance.

“They assist visually disabled and legally blinded individuals to basically run their own company and be an asset to society,” said Martin.

Martin underwent almost 8 months of training before being awarded his micro-market Live Better Market.

“That class covers everything from business management to marketing, to learning all the policies and procedures of the BBE program itself and it’s a very extensive program,” explained Martin.

The market sells meals from Vale, snacks, coffee from Lucky Goat and some workplace essentials.

“It has everything. It has multiple coolers and freezers, it has the coffee machines, it has the full kiosk that allows you to self-scan everything and it’s all self-checkout,” described Martin. “You have microwaves, you have toasters.”

The program gave him the opportunity to continue doing what he loves.

“To be able to stay in the same field I’ve been in for the past 25 years is truly a blessing,” exclaimed Martin.

Living his dream, one sale at a time.

Martin is planning a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the end of the month.

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