“It’s not cost me anything to be accessible and disabled people recommend our shop to others,” says Linda, owner of Bonney Fabrics.
With a ramp to the front of the shop, aisles wide enough for push, electric wheelchairs and Wheelybirds and a disabled toilet for customers, Linda always put disability at the forefront of decisions she makes in her Lytham-based business.
“When re-arranging the shop, I consider things, such as, can a person get around this way or that way? And if people walk into the shop using sticks I provide a chair for them if they need to sit down. It’s obvious really when you stop and think about it because it is good customer service.”
Linda’s self-confessed “little goldmine” of fabrics, wools, craft and homemade goods also hosts craft sessions, such as sewing and felting, also has social distance measures which won’t bamboozle or alienate customers.
Linda has created her own coloured vinyl floor stickers, which are very bright and helpful for people with visual impairments, there’s a waiting and turning station, with enough space that a wheelchair can pass and turn at safe distance and a antibacterial hygiene station at a height, which is appropriate for wheelchair users.
“I have several customers who are deaf. I remove my mask and move back to a safe distance so that they can lip read.
“Like with all the changes I have made at the shop, I try and think of anything and everything which could be a barrier to a person with disability from people in wheelchairs to conditions such as Asperger’s, because I have first-hand experience of it,” adds Linda, who had a family member who used a wheelchair.
“I have first-hand experience and know how hard it can be daily to get around and you really do need to research before you go to know where you can access.
“It does make a difference to accessible. I have seen an increase in clients who have holiday homes here and they pass that onto other people who come to visit. It really is word of mouth and people do tell other people if they can access your shop.”
tOP TIP FOR BUSINESSES
Linda’s top tip for other business owners:
Make sure turning point for wheelchair in your shop which is wide enough to turn whether electric or pushchair
Bonney’s fabrics can be found at 25 St Andrew Road South, Lytham St Annes.