WIN-WIN: Hampton Art supports local nonprofits — with workPublished 6:40pm Saturday, September 7, 2013
Friday, three 18-wheeler trucks pulled into Washington — their cargo, 35,000 pounds of Czech-glass beads. The delivery represented the wholesale move of the Knoxville, Tenn., company Beaders Paradise, to its new home at Hampton Art, the crafts line of National Spinning. Starting Monday, hands across town will be working to fill an order for 45,000 packages of beads, a task that couldn’t have come at better time for one local nonprofit.
“It’s going to save The Blind Center, instantly,” said Sean Nathan, executive director of The Blind Center of North Carolina. “For us, we were in crisis mode with how long we could stay open.”
The Blind Center, along with the Beaufort County Developmental Center, have contracted with Hampton Art to package the beads, at the same time providing the sight-impaired and the developmentally disabled of Beaufort County the opportunity for work. For The Blind Center, that means operational costs are in the clear.
“This program in itself secures our future and definitely offers a nice light at the end of the tunnel,” Nathan said.
Nathan explained that packaging the beads is strictly volunteer work; a volunteer effort that will allow the money from the contract to be used to keep the center open.
“By mandate of our board, the money will be used 100 percent for The Blind Center, its operations and support of the mission,” Nathan said. “Twenty-five percent will be put into a client fund and will be used for food and transportation.”
And the new client fund will allow the center to expand its services to a five-county area, Nathan added.
The contracts to The Blind Center and BCDC didn’t happen by accident, however. According to Mike Behar, sales director for Hampton Art, employing the developmentally challenged was a requirement to purchase Beaders Paradise: the company’s website reads: “Our beads are packaged domestically with pride by developmentally-challenged Americans at nonprofit work centers.” The former owners of Beaders Paradise wanted that tradition to continue, Behar said.
Bringing Beaders Paradise to Washington represents a much-needed diversification to keep the company competitive, according to National Spinning President Jim Chesnutt.
“It is going to solidify the foundation of these people working here today,” Chesnutt said. “More importantly is this deal with the BCDC and The Blind Center … And it’s our way of giving back to the community — not a lot, but giving back a little.”
That might change as the business grows, however.
“We bought this business to grow it,” Behar said. “It’s all about doing stuff locally, bringing stuff to Beaufort County, to Washington, and creating more jobs here.”
But according to Nathan, the work being handed off to The Blind Center represents more.
“For our clients, it gives them a new sense of purpose at The Blind Center,” he said.
Nathan said work begins this Monday and the door is open to any volunteers.
“Anyone who wants to come in and help out, we’ll have a spot for them in production,” Nathan said.