Video title: Living without barriers
Video duration: 2:52
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Bronywn: Hi, my name's Bronwyn, I'm one of the owners here at Be Free Grocer which is a plastic-free store in Palmerston North.
Bronywn: Accessibility was a hugely important consideration for us. We were kind of never going to design a space that wasn't accessible. So right from the get-go we were looking at things like the width of the aisles so that people that use mobility aids like wheelchairs or scooters actually had enough room not just to get down the aisle but to sort of maneuver at the end of the aisles and so on.
Bronywn: It's also one of the reasons why we've kept pretty much everything at one height, which is accessible because we didn't wanna have things down too low or obviously too high out of reach, so with our food, for instance, you can see sort of behind me we've kept pretty much all of our food on one level, and that was quite a conscious decision because I've seen a lot of models where, like, bulk bins will sort of be stacked on top of each other so we actively chose not to do that so that all... pretty much all the food is in plain sight and is actually able to be, you know, physically reached into and scooped, you know, from the vantage point of someone that uses a wheelchair or uses a scooter, for instance.
Bronywn: We actually looked at how many, kind of, aisles we could comfortably get in and we purposely decided not to have- like, it would have been possible to fit two aisles in the middle there but we actively decided not to do that, so that we had… we preferred to have more space on either side and a big turning circle.
Bronywn: Actually we were lucky enough to have… a bit of the counter was left from the previous tenant so we kept that so that people could come up and the EFTPOS obviously can be placed down on that lower counter level, so we wanted everything kind of about how we designed the store to give people as much independence as possible, and not to have to have people to help them to do various things 'cause things are out of reach and so on.
Bronywn: When we first opened a lady that used a wheelchair said that she loved it because she could actually see everything in the shop and that she often can't get to that vantage point and so on. But also just from people who, you know, are able bodied who don't use any mobility aids, I think it's visually appealing as well because it's uncluttered and people can kinda see that.
Bronywn: I think being switched into that and how you can make a store look good and be accessible at the same time is something that retailers need to consider.
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Last updated on Tuesday, 7 December 2021