Lone Star BLAST 2014 Registration and Hotel Reservations are now open!

Don't delay, start your BLAST 2014 experience today!

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The National Association of Blind Merchants serves as an advocacy and support group for blind persons employed in either self-employment work or the Randolph-Sheppard Vending Program. We provide information regarding rehabilitation, social security, tax, and other issues, such as updates to the Randolph- Sheppard Act 


Cheryl Gross
Merchant Relations
National Association of Blind Merchants
Phone: (866) 543-6808, extension 10


National Association of Blind Merchants
Announces Lone Star BLAST 2014

Colorado Springs, Colorado (September 24, 2014): National Association of Blind Merchants (NABM) announced today, that the President of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), Mark Riccobono, will provide the opening address at Business, Leadership and Superior Training (BLAST). NFB President Riccobono will bring his insight, humor, and inspiration to conference attendees at the leadership breakfast Wednesday morning, Nov. 19. NABM, a division of the NFB, encourages you to place your hotel reservations and register now for the powerful BLAST training conference in November 2014. Lone Star BLAST 2014 will be held at the Austin Renaissance Hotel from November 18–20.

This year’s BLAST has expanded its scope. There is great excitement building around the BEST mentoring program for blind clients of vocational rehabilitation, who may be considering or embarking, on a career of entrepreneurship, either within Randolph-Sheppard, or other forms of self-employment. Many state agencies are providing stipends for clients to attend the Blind Entrepreneurs Succeed Today track at BLAST. Interested consumers and rehab counselors should get in touch with our office for details. 

Nicky Gacos, president of the National Association of Blind Merchants, said: “In coordination with Business Enterprises of Texas and the elected committee, we are planning the biggest, boldest, most far-reaching training for blind entrepreneurs and state agency personnel. It will be a BLAST as big as Texas.”

NABM and National Federation of the Blind Entrepreneur Initiative will jointly stage the conference. The group has already begun planning the biggest trade show in its history, working in conjunction with the RSA Buying Group and the Committee of Blind Operators of Texas. NABM is also pleased to announce that in coordination with the National Counsel for State Agencies for the Blind, BLAST will, again this year, feature a day-long training event exclusively for State Licensing Agency staff. The association is also working with NCSAB to offer continuing education for attorneys working with state VR agencies and Business Enterprise programs. Those sessions will take place on Tuesday, November 18. 

BLAST seminars will begin the morning of Tuesday, November 18, with business development training on the morning of Wednesday, November 19.  The trade show will take place Wednesday afternoon. There will be a full day of targeted education related to personal and professional growth on Thursday, November 20. Thursday evening, BLAST will conclude with an all-star Lone Star BLAST banquet and celebration featuring guest speaker/performer, blind American Idol finalist Scott MacIntyre.

This year, BLAST registration will be $200.00. Remember that the BLAST registration fee covers BLAST activities excluding out of hotel tours or events that may be offered. Your registration fee covers training, training materials, welcoming reception, leadership breakfast, trade show and trade show reception, evening banquet, as well as a, “lunch and learn” featuring an address from Dr. Marc Maurer, immediate past President National Federation of the Blind on Thursday Nov. 20. Register now at www.blindmerchants.org. For questions or assistance with hotel reservations or Lone Star BLAST registrations, please call 866-543-6808.  

Austin is the home of the most diverse and lively music scene in the world. NABM invites you to come for the high-caliber training, networking, and Texas hospitality.  In an e-mail to constituents, President Gacos said: “If you plan to attend any national training conference in 2014, make it the Lone Star BLAST!”

Think training! Think opportunity! Think Austin, Texas!

Think BLAST!