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Contact: Nicole Ducouer, IFB Solutions nducouer@ifbsolutions.org or 304-685-2393

The transaction adds jobs and revenues to help people who are blind

WINSTON-SALEM, NC (October 20, 2021)—IFB Solutions, a nonprofit that is the largest employer of people who are blind in the country, recently acquired the assets of Pinnacle Mercantile. Pinnacle Mercantile is a reseller and manufacturer of products for the home, kitchen, garden and landscape. These products, primarily made in the U.S., are sold and distributed through the Amazon marketplace.

“With this acquisition, we continue to strategically expand our footprint to serve new commercial business channels,” said Dan Kelly, Executive Vice President of Strategy and Programs at IFB Solutions. “There is a strong potential for revenue growth that will allow us to add additional jobs for people who are blind as sales increase.”

For IFB’s fiscal 2022, the Pinnacle Mercantile business is expected to bring in more than $8 million in revenues and create more than 10 jobs for people who are blind while also sustaining jobs from pandemic-driven downturns in other areas of the business.

IFB Solutions is also partnering with local small business suppliers of raw materials and coating needed to manufacture and package finished goods. Pinnacle Mercantile’s diverse product line includes metal garden stakes, plastic spray and squeeze bottles, drawstring bags for ice and wood smoking pellets for barbecuing.

Brooke Brown, a five-year IFB employee, now works on Pinnacle Mercantile products making sure the lines are running smoothly. Brooke has diabetic retinopathy and is visually impaired. At one point she was totally blind, but she regained some sight after what she and her doctor call a miracle. Brooke calls her vision a superpower—not a disability.

“I love that IFB is always looking to create new opportunities to challenge people who are blind or visually impaired. I have a voice here. People hear me and listen to me and there are lots of resources,” said Brown.

Pinnacle Mercantile, originally based in Kansas and co-founded by Frank Andra and Robert Biles, is an established Amazon account with a decade of experience in the consumer marketplace. “We are incredibly grateful to everyone on the Pinnacle Mercantile team for trusting us to take over a business that was built from the ground up,” said Kelly.

With the acquisition of Pinnacle Mercantile’s assets, IFB is moving all inventory and operations to its Winston-Salem manufacturing facility and expanding its warehouse footprint in Clemmons. The Pinnacle Mercantile line can be found on the Amazon Marketplace at https://amzn.to/3ujMrz5.

“It is very appropriate that we announce the Pinnacle Mercantile acquisition during National Disability Employment Awareness Month which reminds us that it continues to be incredibly challenging for people who are blind to find jobs,” said Kelly. “Growing a commercial business opportunity like Pinnacle Mercantile helps us establish new jobs here in Winston-Salem. And it’s a great way to build awareness for our mission of creating life-changing opportunities for people who are blind as every sale through our Pinnacle Mercantile store on Amazon makes a difference.”

IFB worked with several local partners to complete the asset acquisition including Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP, Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP, and Truist Financial Corporation. Additionally, IFB worked with The DVS Group in Kansas City on the acquisition of Pinnacle Mercantile.


ABOUT IFB SOLUTIONS IFB Solutions is a nonprofit corporation founded in 1936 that provides employment, training and services for people who are blind or visually impaired. As the largest employer of people who are blind in the United States, IFB operates manufacturing facilities in Winston-Salem, N.C., Asheville, N.C., and Little Rock, Ark., in addition to operating nearly 20 office supply stores across the country and producing mattresses. IFB produces eyewear under its Twenty200 brand at its Winston-Salem lab and operates a retail location in Winston-Salem. IFB Solutions funds employee training and services as well as community programs through grants and private donations, making possible summer camps, afterschool programs and activities for children who are blind, and Community Low Vision services through its low-vision Centers across North Carolina and in Little Rock, Ark. ifbsolutions.org


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