NJC Printing wanted to take this year to learn a little more about our customers and to also share with you, more about what services and opportunities these customers provide for other industries and their communities. Please read along as Abby Barnett, Marketing Manager for The Lighthouse for the Blind answers a few questions about LHB.
What does LHB do?
In a nutshell: Also known as LHB Industries, the Lighthouse was founded in 1933 and today maintains offices and manufacturing facilities that currently employ more than 60 legally blind persons at two locations in Saint Louis County.
The Lighthouse manufactures, assembles, warehouses and sells high-quality products to government and commercial customers nationwide including first aid kits, medical kits, catheters, aerosol and liquid paints, aerosol and liquid cleaning products and many others.
History: Mary E. Ryder, a prominent St. Louisian, founded The Lighthouse for the Blind, originally known as Industrial Aid for the Blind, Inc., in 1933. Through her compassion and imagination, she identified the need for a place whereby the blind could count on developing new, productive skills while simultaneously earning a steady income.
Our first facility manufactured brooms, mops, doormats, and various other articles. In 1968, we began production of ballpoint pen cartridges for the government and other blind agencies.
In the 1980’s, we added aerosol paints and liquid cleaner items to the product mix, and were successful in obtaining a contract with General Services Administration (GSA) for the purchase of aerosol paint products.
As a result of this contract and new growth, we expanded from our main office to an additional satellite facility in Berkeley, Missouri. This new operation facilitated the addition of aerosol filling and packaging capabilities. This expansion allowed us to broaden our spectrum of products, provide greatly increased storage for production warehousing, and add a new maintenance area.
In 2002, we began producing large scale medical kits and recently added specialty bandage packaging and sterilization in 2010.
Currently, the Lighthouse holds over 20 contracts with Government agencies covering over 200 products. The current product mix includes Aerosol Cleaners, Bio-based Cleaners, Liquid Cleaners, Office Cleaners, Maintenance Products, Repellent, Paints and Coatings, Medical Products, and the first Green Seal Certified Environmentally Preferred Cleaners.
To our knowledge, we are the only aerosol manufacturing facility in the world operated by primarily blind individuals.
In January of 2005, we launched the first of our See the Future programs. These programs have grown to include assistance to students in areas of technology adaptations, activities of daily living skill development, professional career development for professionals in the field of vision, scholarships to educational and recreational camps, older adult assistance with low vision aids and, a mobile low vision clinic.
We are a member agency of the National Industries for the Blind and participate in the Ability One Program. Currently, between our two plants, we employ a total of 108 individuals, of which 65 are blind or visually impaired! Approximately 90% of our direct labor force is legally blind.
With our extensive growth, we continue to increase our employment opportunities and build upon our children’s and adult programs.
How has LHB done so well in this “down” economy?
90% of our sales are tied to government contracts, many of which support the military. With the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts continuing, our sales are not impacted the same they would be for a company that focuses on commercial markets.
Tell us about your expansion and facility.
Lighthouse for the Blind-Saint Louis, a non-profit corporation that helps legally blind people maintain dignity and independence by offering Employment, Education and Support Services, celebrated groundbreaking for a new, 17,000-square-foot manufacturing and warehouse addition at its facility in the city of Overland in St. Louis County on (November 16, 2010). To support this anticipated growth, the Lighthouse is adding more than 17,000 square feet of climate-controlled manufacturing and warehouse space to the Trenton Avenue facility and hiring several new legally blind employees. The Lighthouse will occupy the new addition in the Spring of 2011.
How can people help or get in touch with LHB?
www.lhbindustries.com or 314.423.4333
– NJC Printing provides quality digital and offset printing to businesses in St. Louis, Missouri and throughout the midwest. Please visit our website at www.NJCPrint.com to learn more about us or to Request An Estimate.