What began as a small initiative from a class of grade three students in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia has since grown into a national project to ensure over 450 grocery stores across Canada include sensroy-friendly shopping hours. These inclusive changes will debut at Sobeys, Safeway, IGA, Thrifty Foods, Foodland and FreshCo.
The sensory-friendly shopping hours innovative focused on removing sensory stimuli that can overwhelm an individual with sensory sensitivities and includes dimmed lights and reduced noise. The changes were achieved through close work with various local Autism networks and other community-based organizations across Canada to remove barriers for customers with sensory sensitivities including autism and post-concussion syndrome.
“The grocery store is a central hub of the community. We pride ourselves on creating an inclusive environment that reflects our diverse customer base and the communities where we work,” said Heather DeBlois, Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Sobeys. “It’s important to us that everyone knows they are welcome in our stores. Sensory Friendly Shopping has truly been a grassroots movement driven by our store teams, demonstrating how important it is for retailers to consider how they accommodate a diverse customer base.”
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