New Seasons Market is making some changes to its store environments to create a more inclusive space for shoppers.
The Portland, Oregon-area grocery chain announced it has launched a sensory-friendly hour once a week at 18 of its 19 stores. The company’s store in Milwaukie, Oregon, will launch the offering in 2024. The times for the sensory-friendly hour vary based on location.
During the sensory-friendly environment, the stores will refrain from making overhead announcements, won’t play music and will lower the volume of employees’ walkie-talkies.
“The introduction of Sensory Friendly Hour demonstrates our desire to create inclusive spaces where more members of our community can shop at their own pace, without being overwhelmed by sensory stimuli,” the grocer’s Senior Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Nikotris Perkins said in the announcement.
The new shopping experience aims to support New Seasons’ belief “that everyone should feel comfortable while shopping with us,” Perkins said.
The new offering is the latest innovation from New Seasons. Earlier this year, the 19-store chain piloted an upcycling program that turns ground beef into taco meat and berries from the produce section into salad bar additions.
New Seasons’ parent company Good Food Holdings has also embraced new measures as it looks to create cutting-edge, high-end grocery stores including smart carts, electronic shelf labels and scan-and-pay technology.