Being a wheelchair user and being a shopaholic, it can be difficult when shops aren’t accessible. I tend to shop at the same places all the time and most of those shops are chain places, my favourite is New Look. Most independent shops are down roads that have older buildings and steps at the entrances that can be difficult for most wheelchairs.
With wanting to spread more accessibility awareness, any new businesses I see pop up in Dundee I like to make contact and see if they’ve thought about improving the accessibility of there premises. The most common answers are that they’ve not thought about it, won’t be looking into it just now or my favourite, read my message and don’t reply. But that doesn’t stop me doing it, most people are very open to suggestions and want to make changes. Independent businesses like the Butterfly Café located in Commercial Street, Dundee, you can read my Euan’s Guide review on this great café here.
I recently contacted Amanda who owns Oh Hello, a new vintage lifestyle shop in Exchange Street, Dundee, to ask if she had thought of purchasing a portable ramp as there was a slight step at the entrance to her shop. I was pleasantly surprise when she said that she already had one. With a lot of businesses not thinking about accessibility, I had to ask her “why did you think about getting a portable ramp?” and I love her answer.
“I want the business to be accessible to everyone, I want everyone to be able to come into the store and feel welcome, like they belong.”
Providing a portable ramp may sound like a small thing to some people, or it may not, but it definitely makes a big difference. It makes you feel included and thought of. There have been times when I’ve been out with people and I’ve had to wait outside a shop whilst they have a nosey around, or I’ve stayed at home because most of the shops aren’t accessible.
It’s not just the entrance into the shop that accessibility refers to though. It’s getting around the premises, the height of counters/rails and the service you get from staff. Oh Hello ticked all these boxes and is a great addition to Dundee, make sure to go and visit it.
Thank you Amanda for thinking about accessibility for wheelchair users, and let’s hope other businesses follow suit.