if you own a grocery store, then one of the most important things you can do is improve how accessible and comfortable it is for the disabled members of your community. A grocery store is a staple in the community, it's someplace people need to go frequently, so it's very important that it be easy to access for everyone. So, if you need to update your store,here are a few ideas to consider.
Install Automatic Door Open Devices
If you still have an old fashioned door that needs to be pulled or pushed open, then that needs to change. You have several different options to consider. The most obvious one is an electronic sensor that will open and close the door. These are infrared activated, and will sense when the person is approaching the door. This is the best sort of opening device. As an alternative, you can choose a large push button device that is placed alongside the door. This can help people who don't have the reach or strength to physically open a door.
One important thing to consider when dealing with the entry doors is that you should seriously consider using sliding doors. These will slide back and forth on a track, and don't pose the problem of swinging out or in, and potentially banging into a disabled persons wheelchair.
Widen Aisles To Avoid Collisions
Once inside the store, your disabled customers will need to maneuver around comfortably. The major obstacle to this in many grocery stores the aisles are are tight and narrow. So, while you might have originally set up the store to be as efficient as possible, with a maximum usage of floor space, this is not appropriate if you intend to serve disabled persons who use wheelchairs. It would therefore be advisable to widen the aisles. If this means losing some floor space, then so be it. You don't want your store to be so cluttered and tight that a person with a wheelchair won't be able to move around the store and comfortably pick up their groceries.
Redefine Your "No Dogs Allowed" Policy
If you're grocery store has a big sign on the front door announcing your policy of "no dogs allowed", then you might intimidate some disabled persons who have service animals. While you might not intend for these animals to be included in your statement, it can certainly be taken that way. So, a better way to handle the issue is to change the wording to something akin to "service animals allowed", or something else more welcoming.
Install A Wheelchair Ramp For Easy Access
Finally, if your store has stairs or some other access point that would be difficult for a wheelchair bound person to navigate, then you need to have a wheelchair ramp installed. These are important from a legal standpoint (there are laws requiring access that you need to adhere to) but beyond that, you are telling your disabled customers that you are considerate and have them in mind. The ramp will allow them to get into the store without going through a prolonged struggle, which could be embarrassing and dangerous. Also, the ramp is not just helpful for wheelchair bound persons. It's also helpful for the elderly, as well as any customers who might have injuries they are dealing with (a broken foot, and temporary cast and crutches).