When was the company founded? Bestwork Industries for the Blind, Inc. was founded on September 14, 1981 by James Varsaci, a World War II veteran who was blinded in combat. The mission of the organization is to provide meaningful training and employment for people who are visually impaired. Our core competencies include textile and military apparel sewing/manufacturing, paper converting, packaging and light assembly, warehousing and distribution, kitting, document scanning and digital imaging, and e-Commerce. We are a registered Federal/DOD contractor and ISO certified.
Describe your products: Even though Bestwork is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, it operates under a typical, self-sustaining business model, producing primarily military clothing for the U.S. Navy and Army. Today, the mission-based enterprise produces: Navy fleece parkas; running pants; flight deck jerseys; Army cold-weather underlayers; fire-retardant and moisture-wicking T-shirts; commercial lines of cold-weather, fire-retardant garments.
What’s next? Under new leadership, with Jon Katz at the helm as president & CEO, the organization began the transformation from a self-sustaining manufacturing agency to a full-service social enterprise in 2021. The operational paradigm is shifting to include diversified lines of business that will provide upward mobility and offer rehabilitative services to the blind and visually impaired community.
In October, Bestwork opened a satellite facility in North Jersey (more locations coming soon), which enables us to expand our reach and employ more people. We are currently in the finishing stages of adding document scanning and digital imaging services to our line of business. This service will begin in January 2024.
Challenges & opportunities? One of the biggest challenges is finding and retaining labor. Another big challenge is finding affordable warehouse and manufacturing space, which limits the ability to maximize growth and expansion opportunities. The space is there, but it is just not affordable for companies like Bestwork. Rising interest rates have also affected our ability to obtain affordable financing to invest in business growth opportunities.
1940 Olney Ave, Suite 200, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003
Jon Katz, President & CEO
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