In-store Accessibility Q&A
How important was accessibility when you were designing your store? And why was this important?
Physical accessibility is extremely important to us. Our ethos is about inclusivity and thus we have put a lot of thought into how not to have a demographic. We want our store to be welcoming and financially, physically and socially accessable to all members of our community. We are passionate about engaging with our diverse community to offer waste free shopping and achieve conservation goals. Designing a space in such a way that anyone is excluded would be totally at odds with our ethos.
Where did you find out how to do design an accessible space?
Although we are able-bodied ourselves mum has worked in the disability sector for her entire career, she trained as a physiotherapist and has worked alongside people with various mobility challenges. Therefore, with mum’s help and the input of friends who use mobility aids we gained helpful insights into designing an accessible space.
What design features did you implement specifically with accessibility in mind?
We were extremely careful to ensure that we had wide aisles so that particularly people who use mobility scooters would have enough space to comfortably turn at the end of each aisle. We also chose to keep our counters at a height that people who use wheelchairs and scooters could comfortably reach. We opted to have just one counter level pretty much thoughout the entire store so that about 90% of our stock is completely accessible.
What advice would you give to other retailers who may want to be more accessible but aren’t sure how to go about it?
We’ve had a huge amount of positive feedback about the way our space looks. People who do have mobility challenges comment on how well thought-out it is but interestingly, those who don’t use mobility aids also comment on how beautiful, open, spacious, uncluttered and clean our space is. Therefore, I think retailers should recognise that creating an accessible space can simultaneously be a great way to create a stylish and aesthetically appealing space. My advice would be to choose your stock carefully to ensure that your store isn’t cluttered and to really think about how to present your stock so that it’s both visually and physically accessible.