Shoppers with children who have mobility issues will now have an easier way to grocery shop at Wegmans Food Markets as the retailer now offers the Firefly GoTo Shop Cart at all of its locations. The carts, which hold children up to 77 pounds, are designed by Leckey, a manufacturer of mobility equipment for children and young people, and manufactured with U.S. cart supplier Peggs.
“At Wegmans, we are committed to providing incredible customer service to all our shoppers, and we’re always looking for better ways to make our stores accessible to everyone,” said Wegmans Community Relations Manager Linda Lovejoy. “When Liza Rudroff, a customer at our Alberta Drive store in Buffalo, N.Y., brought this cart to our attention and shared her family’s need, we recognized that there are more families, throughout all our market areas, who would benefit from the availability of this cart at our stores.”
Rudroff’s daughter has a neurological movement disorder that prevents her from standing or walking, but she is too big to sit in the front of a regular shopping cart and too small for other special needs carts. Rudroff learned the GoTo Shop Carts were available in the U.S. and approached her local Wegmans on Alberta Drive to request the cart, which led to a two-store pilot program at the Alberta Drive and Pittsford stores. The pilot proved successful, which led to the implementation of the carts across the 99-store chain.
“Now, I can comfortably and safely take Syd grocery shopping with me, whether it’s a planned trip or a last-minute decision to stop on the way home from school,” said Rudroff. “Going to the store immerses Syd in the community and gives her the opportunity to engage with others, explore the sights and sounds, and learn how to shop. It’s a great life experience for her that is now effortless and worry-free for me.”
The Firefly GoTo Shop Carts join Caroline’s Carts, another specialized shopping cart. Caroline’s Carts help caregivers shop with individuals with special needs. The stores also offer motorized shopping carts for customers with mobility issues. Shopping carts are just one of the specialized services Wegmans offers.
"We’ve introduced so many things over the years that are important to our customers when they shop at Wegmans, from different styles of shopping carts and wider lanes, to hearing loops and free access to Aira. Anytime you provide more access for people who have disabilities, you’re creating more access for people to enjoy their lives," Lovejoy told Winsight Grocery Business.
The Aria smartphone app uses assistive technology to connect the visually impaired with certified agents via an augmented reality dashboard so the agents can see in real time what the visually impaired shopper can’t. The service desk, pharmacy and designated front-end registers also offer Hearing Loop technology to help customers with hearing impairments.