Our History

Jim Varsaci training workers in a Bestwork industries for the blind shop

Bestwork through the years

Jim Varsaci stretching rope over his head in a Bestwork industries for the blind shop.

Bestwork Industries for the Blind, Inc. was founded by Jim Varsaci, a native of New. Jersey, who lost his sight in World War II. After the war, Jim and his wife, Rita, worked side by side on their farm in Delran while he adjusted to life without sight.

With the help of the New Jersey Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired (NJCBVI), known as Contract Shop #3, Jim not only learned skills to live independently, but he became their manager offering skills training and employment opportunities to roughly 25 other people who were visually impaired. Rita became a sewing instructor for NJCBVI.

When state funding ran out for Contract Shop #3, Jim was determined to prevent job losses for his colleagues who so desperately needed employment. Seeking help from private citizens, the NJCBVI, and National Industries for the Blind (NIB), he was able to launch Bestwork Industries for the Blind, Inc. as a private, not-for-profit agency on September 14, 1981, in a 10,000-square-foot facility in Westmont, NJ. Times were tough at first, and Jim and Rita worked two years without drawing a salary.

Varsaci learned that there were federal government contracts available through the AbilityOne Program, formerly known as the JWOD (Javits, Wagner, O’Day) Program, for workers who are blind or visually impaired. With the help of Bestwork’s Board of Directors and NIB, Varsaci secured Bestwork’s first AbilityOne contract – the Navy neckerchief.

Jim passed away seven years later in 1988.

Belinda Moore

Belinda Moore was named Bestwork’s new President and CEO. Under her direction, a new management team solidified what Jim had originated and grew it dramatically.

A new 25,000-square-foot facility was purchased in Runnemede, NJ, in order to increase production capacity. More jobs followed and Bestwork became a valued service provider to our military, state, and federal government.

Exterior of Bestwork building in Cherry Hill, NJ on a sunny day

Bestwork relocated to a 50,000-square-foot facility in Cherry Hill, NJ. The new space afforded Bestwork the opportunity to nearly double its workforce and pursue a wider variety of contracts.

Under the organization’s operating philosophy of high quality and on-time delivery, Bestwork’s reputation brought about more contracts with the Defense Logistics Agency and General Services Administration to support the needs of the Air Force, Army, Navy, and other federal customers.

Jon Katz

Upon Belinda’s retirement, Jon Katz assumed the role of President and CEO. Jon’s vision to grow and diversify Bestwork’s competencies will lead to many more opportunities for people who are blind and visually impaired.

On September 14, 2021, Bestwork celebrated its 40th Anniversary!

What began as a contract shop with a few employees has grown into a self-sustaining manufacturing agency, successfully partnering with Fortune 500 companies for materials and supplies, while growing job opportunities for people who are blind or visually impaired. Bestwork has adopted the universally recognized best practices of Lean Manufacturing and ISO 9001:2015 certification.

“I would like to share our best wishes and thanks.  I am so proud of my Mother and Father for the seeds that they sowed so many years ago, yet I realize that the continued dedication of the Board Members, Administration Team, and the hard work of all the employees at Bestwork is what is nurturing that dream to such an outstanding example of what can be. If not for all of you, there would not be a Bestwork Industries. It is a shining example of what is good in the world. Thank you.”

– Jim Varsaci

Jim Varsaci [son of the founder], standing with numerous awards