Louisiana Association of Blind Merchants (LABM)

is a statewide, membership organization of blind persons--either self-employed merchants or employed through the Randolph-Sheppard Vending Program. We provide information regarding rehabilitation, social security, taxes, and other issues which directly affect blind merchants, as well as serving as an advocacy and support group. The LABM is a proud division of the National Federation of the Blind of Louisiana, which is an affiliate of the oldest and largest consumer organization of the blind in America.

For more information, contact

Lee Frazier, President

4017 Ellis St

Lake Charles LA70615









National Association of Blind Merchants




Greetings and Happy New Year! We’ve been getting lots of inquiries and we are happy to announce that registration is open for the Windy City BLAST. Our training conference will be held May 17-20, 2016, at the Loews O’Hare Airport Hotel in Rosemont, Illinois. Exciting things are being planned and we hope you will plan on joining us for this premiere training opportunity. Visit www.blindmerchants.org to register now and book your hotel room.

The most exciting thing is we have signed a deal with Disney to do a one-day pre-conference training. The training is entitled “The Disney Approach to Business Excellence” and will be held on Tuesday, May 17th from 8:00 – 4:00. This training is outstanding. The cost for this training is usually $450-$500. As part of our continued commitment to bringing the very best training to the Randolph-Sheppard community, the training will be available to anyone who registers for BLAST for only $100. We are offering the training to the general public for $375 and have already received multiple inquiries as the result of the Disney Institute including the training on its website calendar. The discounted price is available to only the first 175 who register and the maximum capacity for the training is 275. With the training being made available to the general public, slots will fill up fast so you are encouraged to register early. Offering training from Disney has been a dream of NABM President Nicky Gacos. “Disney is known for its business excellence and as blind entrepreneurs we have an opportunity to learn from the very best,” said Gacos.

On Tuesday, we typically do pre-conference seminars and breakout sessions. We won’t be doing as many of those although we may schedule a few from 4:30 to 5:30 PM. We cannot offer programming in competition with the Disney training. Our opening night reception starts at 6:00 that evening.

We are still working on agenda items but we have confirmed our keynote speaker. Navy Seal Leif Babin will present at our first general session on May 18. His topic is “Extreme Ownership” which is the name of his new best selling book. He talks about the leadership skills he learned as a Navy Seal and how those skills apply to the business world. We think it will be outstanding. Ironically, Leif’s best friend and fellow Navy Seal was blinded in combat so he is especially looking forward to joining us for BLAST.

We have many more terrific speakers we will be announcing soon and the highlight as always will be the tradeshow on the afternoon of May 18. The banquet idea was such a success in Austin we have decided to have a banquet again this year on Thursday night. And we wrap things up by 11:00 Friday morning. It will be a long week but you will want to be there for the entire time. It will be worth it. Come in on Monday and take advantage of the Disney training. Leave on Friday afternoon. You will leave both informed and inspired.

It won’t be all work. We have some exciting things happening after hours as well. For those who like games of chance, there is free transportation to the nearby casino. You are only a block or two away from the train station if you want to go downtown and visit the Miracle Mile shops, Navy Pier, or the museum district. If you are a baseball fan, the White Sox are at home that week. If you want to see the Cubs play you will have to come in the weekend prior to BLAST. And we are planning some after hour activities at the hotel if you don’t want to venture out.  

The hotel we have selected for BLAST, the Loews O’Hare Airport Hotel, may be the nicest property ever to host one of our training conferences. The Loews recently was included on a list of the world’s top 11 airport hotels.   It was one of only 3 or 4 U.S. hotels that made the list. There is free transportation from O’Hare. However, it’s a long distance from Midway Airport so try to arrange your flight into O’Hare if at all possible.

So mark your calendar and make plans now to come and be part of the biggest and best BLAST ever. If you have specific questions or need additional information, feel free to contact Terry Smith at terrysmith@epbfi.com.