Central Saanich Thrifty’s daily manager Don Hay at the store’s first ever Sensory Friendly hour. (Courtesy of Kellie Wing)

Central Saanich Thrifty’s gets glowing reviews for its Sensory Friendly shopping

Lights dimmed, music killed for an hour once a week

Following lots of interest from the community, the Thrifty Foods store in Central Saanich has now launched their Sensory Friendly hour.

The brainchild of the store’s daily manager Don Hay, the hour sees lights dimmed by 50 per cent, intercom calls stopped and even check-out beeps switched off. Shoppers report a music-free, peaceful purchasing experience, especially appreciated by people with sensory sensitivities.

ALSO READ: Central Saanich Thrifty’s to dim lights one hour a week

A relative suggested a sensory friendly initiative following a trip to Disneyland. It got him thinking.

“My son is autistic and while he is fine going out and shopping, a lot of people in his circle can’t,” says Hay.

Although the store isn’t really designed for quiet, Hay found the company responsive to the idea of a more relaxed shopping hour and so he embarked on a journey to organize the logistics and consult with staff to make the endeavour happen.

Thanks to the team effort of colleagues and management, working practices have been adjusted and staff act as greeters, explaining the concept to customers.

The first sensory hour was on May 15 at 6 p.m. and the store reports positive feedback from shoppers.

“It went really well. It was weird to see the store so quiet,” says Hay with a laugh. “We started to realize other things like the noise the cashier’s drawer makes and the noise of the coins.”

ALSO READ: Police-run Youth for Change and Inclusion camp bids fond farewell to tireless directors

Noises like the jangling of loose change might not register with most shoppers but for people with sensory sensitivities, the shopping experience can be a whirlwind of noise and jarring sounds.

The hour demonstrated the amount of noise and light inherent in the modern supermarket experience. Even the cashiers reported noticing the brightness of the lights once they were back on.

Hay explains the hour wasn’t only enjoyed by people with social anxieties, as he received positive feedback from two migraine sufferers and customers who just prefer a more peaceful experience.

The store had planned to run a bi-monthly sensory friendly hour, but after the positive interest from the community the store now offers it every Wednesday evening.

ALSO READ: Greater Victoria youth rally around no-user-fee transit idea

“It’s about being as inclusive as can be and giving people options. It’s for those who have a hard time with sound or lights and it gives them a quieter time to shop. It gives people one extra option in how they choose to shop,” says Hay.

The Central Saanich store is located at 7860 Wallace Dr. The Sensory Friendly hour runs Wednesdays from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. For more information visit thriftyfoods.com.



nick.murray@peninsulanewsreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

nick.murray@peninsulanewsreview.com

Just Posted

Three Greater Victoria schools claim climate awards

Awards handed out by British Columbia Sustainable Energy Association

Tips from BC Ferries for travelling this Canada Day long weekend

Tips from BC Ferries for smooth sailing this Canada Day long weekend

Field named for longtime Hampton Little League volunteer

‘Curt Waldner Field’ recognizes years of dedication put in by former little league dad

Saanich honours lifetime of conservation efforts

Mary Haig-Brown wins environmental award for 40 years of extensive volunteer work

Sidney lowers flag to half mast in honour of former fire chief

Mel Baldwin died June 21 at the age of 83; served Sidney Fire for 46 years

Video shows fireworks shot at swan in Alberta

Alberta Fish and Wildlife is investigating the incident in Grande Prairie

WITH VIDEO: Two endangered marmots released on Vancouver Island

With three new pups born in May, two more Vancouver Island Marmots… Continue reading

Surrey RCMP raises Pride flag amid din of protesters

There were about 30 protesters on either side, and 20 Mounties doing crowd control

Should B.C. get rid of Daylight Saving Time?

The province wants to know, as state governments down south make the move

Air Canada reviewing how crew left sleeping passenger on parked plane

In a Facebook post, the woman said she woke up ‘all alone’ on a ‘cold dark’ aircraft

Canadians crash out of Women’s World Cup in 0-1 loss to Sweden

Canada missed a chance to tie the game on a penalty shot

Four-year-old boy assaulted at B.C. soccer game

It happened at a weekend tournament in Ashcroft

Two bear cubs saved near Revelstoke after mother hit by car

Conservation officers trapped the cubs and transported them to a wildlife sanctuary

Heroism medal for B.C. woman who tried to save wheelchair-bound man stuck on rail tracks

Julie Callaghan awarded Carnegie Medal from U.S.-based foundation for ‘extraordinary heroism’

Most Read