Supporting a worthy cause: NIB awards commissary category manager for helping launch new kitchenware line in stores
A Defense Commissary Agency category manager has been awarded an appreciation award by the National Industries for the Blind (NIB) for his work in launching a new SKILCRAFT kitchenware line at U.S. military commissaries nationwide.
Darrell Clary, assigned to the agency’s headquarters at Fort Lee, Virginia, facilitated DeCA’s collaboration with NIB on the kitchenware line, which debuted last April and includes 60 products, employs 24 people with disabilities and gives commissary patrons quality kitchen products at a great price.
“I am so honored and humbled by the award,” said Clary. “Being able to help people who are blind or have significant disabilities is truly gratifying in itself, but doing so and also providing the men and women that serve this great nation access to a growing market for less than the competition is the cherry on top.”
SKILCRAFT kitchenware products are manufactured by people who are blind or have significant disabilities. Customers can now find kitchen items like baking pans, bowls, containers, and many other products in commissaries around the country.
“DeCA has been an incredible partner in helping NIB and our associated nonprofit agencies fulfill our mission to create employment opportunities for people who are blind,” said NIB President and CEO Kevin Lynch. “We look forward to continuing this partnership to offer more quality SKILCRAFT products to commissary customers in the future.”
What started out as a small number of products, like mops and brooms, in the 1950s has turned into a million-dollar business. NIB and their workers now produce more than 800 different items across many different categories.
“Sales of the new kitchenware items have been great. Through late December they reached $2.5 million,” said Tracie Russ, DeCA’s director of sales.
According to Clary, DeCA is always looking to refine and tailor the items produced to ensure that customers are getting the products they want.
“Providing our customers great products at significant savings is one of DeCA’s main goals. Making these products available means that our customers can find what they need at one place, saving them time and money,” Clary said.
Over time the line will be refined and new products brought in to respond to customer demand.
“Our mission to support the best customers in the world pairs well with the NIB’s mission. Commissaries are able to provide customers with quality, everyday items at great prices while also providing meaningful employment for people with disabilities. It doesn’t get any better than that,” said Russ.