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Tallahassee Visually Impaired Business Owner Celebrates The Grand Opening Of His New Micro-Market

Thanks to the Florida Department of Blind Services and DMS , visionally impaired business owner Patrick Martin held a ribbon cutting ceremony.
Published: Jun. 3, 2022 at 12:04 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - A few weeks ago we shared we shared the story of a man that started to lose his vision, and with it the ability to run his business. But since he has rebounded with his own micro-market in Southwood and Tuesday he celebrated his grand opening.

He held a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the feat with the state organizations that helped him get to this point.

The grand opening meant the world to Patrick Martin because just two years ago he started to lose his vision and with it his career, but thanks to a few state programs he’s living out his dream.

The cutting of the ribbon Tuesday stands as the most recent reminder for how far Martin has come.

“To think that just two years ago I was looking at being a couch potato and had no ambition or anything to one year ago almost to the date I started the program at blind services,” shared Live Better Market Place Owner and Operator Patrick Martin.

That Business Enterprise Program giving those visually impaired an opportunity they didn’t think was possible.

“Years and years ago they thought that blind people just couldn’t do regular work, right? So the federal government created what’s called the Randolph Sheppard Act and it opened up doors for people to have an opportunity in vending and cafeterias and other food services,” explained Florida Division of Blind Services Director Robert Doyle.

The program giving participants a rigorous training to prepare them to be successful.

“We gave them training in how to run a business, how to do profit and loss, how to look at your margins and all of those kind of things and just really bringing them to a place where they can successfully operate and lead their business,” said Doyle.

The Department of Management Services worked with contractors to create the space for the business turning it from conference room to a market.

“It’s a great story of collaboration between state agencies,” said DME Deputy Secretary of Business Operations Patrick Gillespie. “We were able to move fairly quickly but obviously with supply chain issues made it a little bit difficult at times but we were able to work together, get the funds together and provide an opportunity so we’re really happy about that.”

State agencies working in unison to support those hungry to make a life for themselves.

“It’s phenomenal, it’s overwhelming and the gratitude that I have, I can’t even tell you just how how grateful I am,” expressed Martin.

Martin says he’s excited about the potential of this market and what it could bring to the Southwood community.

The Department of Blind Services says they currently have about 116 licensed operators around the state and they hope to also expand into the private sector.

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