Nevada Proud: Loss of Eyesight Doesn't Slow Down Gardnerville Man

Reported by: Joe Hart
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Updated: 5/13/2013 7:04 pm
Mark Berry of Gardnerville has learned to adapt to the challenges life throws his way. 

"All of a sudden at age 50 I went blind and I thought,  what does a blind guy do ?"   Berry told News 4.

So, he decided to start up a coffee business, aptly named, Blind Dog Coffee. 

With scales that speak to him, gauges that allow him to feel the different temperature settings, and a roasting machine he knows inside and out,
Mark is able to create great tasting coffee in his Gardnerville warehouse,  without seeing a thing.

"It's quality, it's local it's organic and I'm the only blind commercial coffee roaster west of the Rockies.  How can you beat that ?" Berry said with a chuckle during our interview.

Blind Dog Coffee is a thriving small business, showing up in more and more grocery stores around northern Nevada. But for Mark it represents even more than that. Statistics show 82 percent of all blind people are unemployed.  And that prospect terrified Mark when he first learned he was losing his sight. 

"What else are you  going to do but go home and sit on the couch and drink ?  I didn't like that idea.   I mean i do like to drink.  especially really good tequila !" Berry joked.

Tequila aside , this family run coffee  business has given Mark a new mission in life. He's able to find his way, operate the equipment, and  produce a quality product, while serving as an inspiration to those around him.

"To watch him move forward it just drives you to make sure you don't let the little inconveniences get in your way," Mark's son Ian told us.

The result is great tasting, organic coffee, roasted right here in our backyard, and proof that with guts and a little ingenuity,  Nevadans are capable of overcoming just about anything.

And this could be just the beginning.

"I've got plans to grow Blind Dog Coffee to see how big we can do it.  Now its a game.  How big can you do it ?" he said.

While Mark is enjoying success with his new business, he's also giving back.   Mark battled cancer as a child.
And that's what ultimately robbed him of his eyesight.  Now he donates some of the proceeds from his business to  the Northern Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation.
By the way you can find Blind Dog Coffee at Scolari's, Raley's , Costco and pretty soon in Walmart stores as well.

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