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Amazon Launches New Storefront for Government Supplies

Called AbilityOne Storefront, the new B2B site sells products and services made by people who are blind or have other significant disabilities. It builds off a longstanding federal effort and is open to state and local governments.

Aerial view of a cardboard box standing on it's side with the Amazon logo on the other, exposed side.
One of the newest Amazon online storefronts aims to match government buyers with supplies made by workers who are blind or have other “significant disabilities,” the e-commerce operator said in a statement.

Called the AbilityOne Storefront, the operation consists of a collaboration with the National Industries for the Blind (NIB) and is named after the U.S. AbilityOne Commission, a federal agency established in 1938 which describes itself as the country’s largest employer of people who are blind or have significant disabilities.

Last year, government agencies bought $3.9 billion of goods and services through that federal program. The U.S. Department of Defense is the largest buyer of those products.

The Amazon material promoting the new storefront focuses on the federal government and purchasing policies but an Amazon spokesperson told Government Technology that state and local governments can buy from the online site as well. Goods sold via the new storefront include janitorial, food and office supplies, as well as hardware and paint.

Products come from more than 36,000 AbilityOne employees, including more than 2,000 veterans. Products and services sold by AbilityOne — and via this new Amazon commerce site — are under the SKILCRAFT brand, which is owned by NIB.

“We’re pleased that our government customers can enjoy the convenience of Amazon Business when shopping for SKILCRAFT and AbilityOne products,” said NIB President and CEO Kevin Lynch in the statement from Amazon.

The storefront launch comes as public agencies, along with technology vendors, are paying more attention to better serving people with disabilities.

Amazon, meanwhile, is becoming a larger force in government technology, especially as more agencies and vendors turn to the cloud for a variety of tasks. For instance, Amazon recently announced it would spend $35 million on a data center expansion in Virginia. Amazon also is developing self-driving technology and drones as it continues to sell products to governments through other online B2B sites.


GovTech Biz