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Small Business Accessibility: Big Bell

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As a Chamber of Commerce, we really believe in the free market, which can be defined as the uninhibited movement of goods and services. and so, if your business is not accessible to the consumer then we don't really have a free market. When I talk with a large business, whether it's the head of the company, or it's somebody who's responsible for facilities management, and things of that nature I make sure that they understand that they are liable for the accessibility of all of their sites. That they have a responsibility to ensure that their services are delivered. And also I try to instill to them the fact that there is a philosophy that exists about accessibility, and that that's a philosophy that comes from the top down, to be instilled into their local sites, that they are a company that promotes inclusion of all individuals, including people with disabilities. (male voice) I have three Cartridge World stores, one in downtown Chicago, two on the north side of Chicago. And it's very interesting - three of them have very different accessibility issues. My most difficult one has 2 steps. Bottom line, if you're in a wheel chair, or your on crutches, you're going to have a very tough time getting into that store. The second one has a very flat surface, however, it has an extremely, extremely heavy door. The third location is actually very, very simple. It's flat, and it's has very very wide doors, however, of all of our customers, we get about 280 among the three stores, that come in, that come in, about 10 a week, need the Big Bell. Our front door is the beginning of the customer's experience with Cartridge World. Before, when we didn't have the Big Bell, it was extremely difficult, it was extremely awkward and about 75% of those that were either elderly, or disabled, made a negative comment to us, and even though our products and service could be, you know, perfectly satisfactory, bottom line is, they walked away with a negative experience, because we did not make our store accessible. Now, after we implemented the Big Bell, it is very very easy for my staff, as well as for the disabled or the elderly, to come in, and we make it so easy, they just punch a little blue button the size of a fist, and it looks actually cosmetically, very very good on our store, and it couldn't even be more simple. The ADA is a civil rights law, so when you look at access for everyone, that's the original intent of the law. The architectural standards are compromised, within the building standards, and building community, as to what would be required, as far as structural access. There is recognition of the fact, though, that they still do not meet everyone's needs. They are a minimal standard, recognizing that there are people who fall below. There are people who who have no arms, who are not even able to use an accessible handle if there is one there. There are people who use electronic, or other kinds of technology, to be able to talk, or to be able to move a wheelchair, who still are going to fall outside the parameters of what the architectural access will provide. So, businesses have a responsibility to meet the needs of that population as well. And things like using notification devices to allow that person to tell them that they need assistance to get in the door. as an example of what a business can do. This is really a bottom line issue for businesses. Business wants to and needs to recognize that that community represents a heck of a lot of purchasing power, and if we can reach out, and make certain that those who are disabled in our communities, have the ability to reach the same kinds of goods and services that everyone else does, I think it would be, not only profitable for those individuals, but for the companies themselves. The goodwill that this has created, even among those who are not disabled or elderly, you can't put a monetary value on that.

Video Details

Duration: 4 minutes and 7 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Views: 73
Posted by: ccwebguy on Nov 20, 2011


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