Ask an Expert

Origin:
1325–75; Middle English (adj.) < Latin expertus, past participle of experīrī to try, experience

Every day we live with the need to communicate. We need to rise above simple translation and see the meaning, when we build a website we need to include everyone (not just the sighted) and when we travel we are faced with challenging physical barriers. I know what it's like and think I have the depth and resources to help others make the right decisions.

Each month I will be responding to a question, chosen from a pool of some of the most commonly asked ones that I have been asked over the years and continue to be asked. A complete archive of "Ask an Expert" articles can be found here.

Donna Jodhan, a woman with short dark hair and glasses, sits at a table with a laptop in front of her.

This month, I'd like to answer the following question:

How to make your corner grocery more accessible

Before you say no or turn thumbs down on these suggestions; consider these thoughts.

You can definitely increase your revenue and reduce both your internal and external costs and here's how.

Take it from me! I have been an accessibility awareness consultant and advisor since 1998 and I continue to help companies to increase their revenues, reduce their costs, and reach hidden consumer markets!

A corner grocery establishment is always one where you can do good business and why? Because it is the place that so many come to in a pinch or whenever they need to get things in a hurry.

So with this in mind, let us concentrate on helping you to bring in more than just the regular type of customer. I am referring to customers with special needs or one with a disability.

Here are some tips to get you started.

  1. Make your front entrance easy to find and navigate. It should be wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs and walkers and strollers. In addition, make it easy to identify by having it stand out; put it in colours that are easy to help customers identify it.
  2. Make your sign clearly visible; locate it in a spot that is easy to find and identify. Make your sign with background and foreground that give good contrast. Make letters large enough to read and use fonts that are not too difficult to read.
  3. Make aisles wide enough for wheelchairs, walkers, and for persons using canes.
  4. Do not clutter shelves. Arrange your items in such a way that are easy to find. Make it easy to identify what is in each aisle.
  5. Use colours that help customers to easily distinguish floors from shelves. That is, provide adequate contrast.
  6. Place your check out counter in an easy to find location and provide adequate room for shoppers to check out.
  7. Make sure that your staff is trained to provide assistance whenever a customer with a disability requests it.
  8. Provide choices at check out time; that is, not just those self check out machines, but also cash registers manned by live persons.

This should be a good start.