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Alabama Industries for the Blind

At Alabama Industries for the Blind (AIB), service is key to our mission. We serve those who are blind or deaf. We serve our community. And we serve our country.AIB Logo

AIB is a diverse manufacturing complex and one of the country’s largest employers of people who are blind. We are a National Industries for the Blind (NIB) affiliate and part of the AbilityOne Program.

Celebrating 75 years of service in 2008, AIB provides training and employment opportunities for adults who are blind, deaf, and deaf-blind, producing more than 100 different items. U.S. Navy deck swabs, Flyers’ Kit Bags, First Aid kits, and every necktie worn by U.S. servicemen are proudly made in Talladega at AIB. But we do not stop there. Our production line includes household cleaning supplies, linens and office products. Shop AIB for a full listing of items for your home or business or visit our AIB Business and School Supply Store at 1209 Fort Lashley Avenue in Talladega. Contact us at 800.801.9032 or

AIB has manufacturing facilities in Talladega and Birmingham and operates supply stores on military bases at Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta, Georgia; Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville; and Ft. Rucker in Dothan. We are flexible in our manufacturing capabilities, and welcome any opportunity to partner with other companies. Contact us about our screen printing and embroidery operations.

We take pride in the products we produce and have been recognized for delivering quality goods in a timely and efficient manner. But our most important products are our employees whose lives are transformed from tax consumers into tax producers.

Alabama Industries for the Blind: Overview

AIB started in 1932 as a sewing project for Alabama School for the Blind (ASB) female graduates. Today, AIB employs more than 300 people, 75 percent of whom are blind or have vision loss.

Picture of Francine BishopAll employees receive at least the federal minimum wage with incentives paid for higher production. Unemployment is one of the most persistent problems facing people with vision loss – up to 70 percent are unemployed or underemployed. When people who are able to work are not given the opportunity, it costs us as a society, not just financially, but in productivity and loss of potential talent. By giving people who are blind or multidisabled a chance to work, AIB is supporting Alabama’s economy.

Our customer base includes the federal government and U.S. military, Alabama state government including the Departments of Transportation, Veterans Administration, Mental Health and the Alabama National Guard; public schools and universities; Lions Clubs and Federated Women’s Clubs of America, as well as a strong base of commercial customers.

AIB works under the Javits-Wagner-O’Day (JWOD) Act, now called the AbilityOne Program, a federal law that makes our facility and others like us across the nation a mandatory source of supply for government agencies and departments. This AbilityOne Program is administered by the AbilityOne Commission, an independent federal agency. The AbilityOne Program’s mission is to provide employment opportunities for people who are blind or have other severe disabilities in the manufacture and delivery of products and services to the federal government. The Committee for Purchase establishes which items will be added to the JWOD Procurement List and the fair market prices for items.

In addition, Alabama has a State Use Law which makes AIB – and other Alabama agencies employing people who are blind or severely disabled – a preferred source for state and local agencies and departments. By obtaining three quotes on all items, AIB assists agencies in complying with state bid law and provides a faster procurement process. Click to order a State Use Law catalog or order AIB manufactured products and many more AbilityOne products online. Visit our AIB Business and School Supply Store at 1209 Fort Lashley Avenue in Talladega or contact us at 800.801.9032 or

Production Areas

Sewing was our original occupation, and this remains a strong point for our organization. We have a large self-contained cutting room, and like all our production areas, the equipment is designed for maximum safety for our employees, whether sighted or not. A sewing production area hums with activity, producing a variety of sewn products such as highway safety vests and pants and canvas bags. A separate sewing area is home to our tie production department. We have been making ties for all branches of the military for many years, and our production teams in this department take great pride in this distinction.

The Industries began producing brooms in 1945 when men were added to the Adult Department for the Blind (the precursor to AIB). We sold brooms for years through the Lions Clubs of Alabama and still enjoy their support. Although brooms are no longer produced, we make string mops, including a special mop designed for use by the U.S. Navy. These mops contain no wire components, and so are completely biodegradable.Picture of Richard Lee

Smaller brushes include toilet bowl brushes and other scrub brushes ideal for use around the house. Child-sized brooms and mops are a perennial favorite with the younger set. Our NIB affiliates produce many other household items which are available for sale through our online catalog and at the AIB Business and School Supply Store, adjacent to our production facility in Talladega.

We also have a screen printing and embroidery department. We can take your design and create promotional t-shirts, canvas bags and other items. We also embroider in full color on high-quality golf or polo shirts. Small orders are welcome; we also have the capacity to produce in volume.

Partner Highlight: AIB Supports Blinded Veterans and the Veterans Administration

For Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind (AIDB), it is not ‘business as usual’ but rather ‘business is personal’.

Just ask the U.S. veterans who work on Alabama Industries for the Blind (AIB) military and private-sector contracts. Both Harry Edmiston and Richard Lee (pictured) work on AIB’s newest product line: SKILCRAFT Double Life Toner Cartridges, helping to wrap, box, label and ship 30,000 units in 2012 to more than 100 businesses nationwide.

One such agency is the Veterans Administration (VA), currently AIB’s largest client of the new toner product patented by Clarity Imaging Technologies, Inc. The 17 differing model cartridges are compatible with Lexmark® or Hewlett-Packard® printers and cost less to print per page yet have double the yield. All cartridge components are 100-percent recyclable, aligning with ‘green’ efforts across the nation.

“Working with AIB to manufacture and market AbilityOne SKILCRAFT Double Life Toner Cartridges is fully in keeping with both the spirit and the intent of Deputy Secretary of Defense memorandum directing the Department of Defense to maximize usage of products manufactured by companies employing disabled veterans,” explains Peter P. Corritori Jr., Clarity Imaging Technologies, Inc., President and CEO.

To contact an AIB Sales Representative to partner with AIB and/or purchase these and/or other office supplies, call 1.800.801.9032 or email

Base Supply Centers

Today AIB also places emphasis on expanding job opportunities for adults who are blind through service-oriented employment, an important change for all NIB affiliates. Military bases across the nation are required under AbilityOne to purchase selected supplies from AIB and other facilities employing people who are blind. Base supply stores are an ideal outlet for training service and management personnel, and provide employment for people who are blind in a variety of locations. We currently have locations at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama; Moody Air Foce Base at Valdosta, Georgia, and Ft. Rucker in Dothan.

Birmingham Satellite

AIB opened a satellite location in Birmingham in 1986. Primarily a sewing production shop, we have produced thousands of American flags in addition to linens and other sewn goods. The shop is located in the same facility as the Birmingham Regional Center, in the city’s Lakeside District.

“I often wondered if that little beginning would grow,” noted the late Sara Chamblee, one of the first employees of Mattie Gilbert Smith’s sewing project in 1932. “That was my dream, because there was so little work for blind people then….I never dreamed it would reach this proportion. No, it is not the end of my dream, for I am wishing that work opportunities would become so great that all blind adults could work.”

Alabama Industries for the Blind: History

In 1932, Ms. Mattie Smith, a teacher for the Alabama School for the Blind (ASB), was the first to envision blind employment opportunities for Alabamians. Utilizing borrowed and used sewing machines, Ms. Smith, along with five ASB graduates, made pot holders, pillowcases and sheets. Ms. Smith and her former students then sold these products through the Federated Women’s Clubs of Alabama. Thus, the Alabama Industries for the Blind (AIB) began the journey that has lasted for more than 80 years.

In 1938, Congress passed the Wagner-O’Day Act. This law directed federal agencies to purchase products from non-profit industries that employ people who are blind or those with multiple disabilities. Amended in 1971 as the Javits-Wager-O’Day (JWOD) Act, now called the AbilityOne Program, it then provided for the purchase of both products and services and included Federal purchasing from industries serving people with other severe disabilities.

Since 1932, AIB has steadily grown in products and personnel and is one of the top-five largest industries for the blind in the United States. Today, nearly 300 people are employed by AIB, including those at the main facility in Talladega and our Birmingham location. AIB provides services and employment opportunities by operating Base Supply Centers located at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville; Moody AFB at Valdosta, Georgia, and Ft. Rucker in Dothan.

Shop AIB

In 2008, AIB proudly celebrated 75 years of history and providing employment to adults with vision and hearing loss. To learn more, tour or to Shop AIB or contact us at 800.801.9032 /

Show your support for AIDB and have access to high-quality, competitively-priced office supplies, cafeteria supplies, cleaning supplies and more. If you’re in Talladega, stop by our store at: 1209 Ft. Lashley Ave.; Talladega, Alabama 35160; 1.800.801.9032 or click to  shop online now. Thank you for your business!

The adage that a picture is worth a thousand words has been upstaged by a sign containing a single sentence.

   In virtually all of the Alabama Industries for the Blind (AIB) 12 departments, which manage or package more than 100 items, a statement is displayed for all to see and distributed in large print and Braille for those who cannot: “Quality Policy: AIB is committed to meeting customer requirements and increasing customer satisfaction through continual improvement of its products, services, and the quality management system.”

   This philosophy has resulted in past recognition from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and for the first time in AIB history, International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9001:2008 certification from SRI, an internationally accredited registrar for management system standards in the public, private and environmental sectors.

Meet Our Staff

Alabama Industries for the Blind Main Office
1209 Ft. Lashley Avenue
Talladega, Alabama  35160
(256) 761-3660 (phone)
(256) 761-3477 (facsimile)

Jerry Martin
Executive Manager
(256) 761-3376
(256) 761-3477 (facsimile)

Charles Roden
Manager, Plant Operations
(256) 761-3379
(256) 761-3477 (facsimile)

Cathy West
Manager, Sales and Military Operations
(256) 761-3388
(256) 761-34505 (facsimile)

Mailing Address
Alabama Industries for the Blind
Post Office Box 698
Talladega, Alabama  35161

Talladega Store
1209 Ft. Lashley Avenue
Talladega, Alabama  35160

Randy Liner
Manager, AIB Store
(256) 761-3519

Birmingham Satellite Workshop
Supervisor Curtis Eatman: (205) 252-3164
220 34th Street South
Birmingham, Alabama  35222
(205) 252-3164/3957
(205) 323-5897 (facsimile)

Redstone (Huntsville)
Bldg. 3775, Maintenance Road
Redstone Arsenal, Al 35898
Store Manager Deborah Hollingsworth
(256) 382-1111
(256) 313-1854 (facsimile)

Moody AFB BSC/IEU (Valdosta, Ga)
Moody Mail Service
PMB 62
Moody AFB, GA 31699
Store Manager Liz Curry
(229) 316-0032
(229) 245-0240 (facsimile)

Ft. Rucker
P. O. Box 620487
Ft. Rucker, Al 36362
Store Manager Ken Chance
(334) 598-1139
(334) 598-1167 (facsimile)