Drakes to trial sensory friendly shopping hours at stores

South Australian supermarket chain, Drakes, has partnered with Autism SA to trial sensory friendly shopping hours at the Golden Grove and Hallett Cove stores.

Following calls from the autism community about the importance of sensory inclusive shopping experiences at times when working adults and families can attend, Drakes will begin the inclusive hours every Tuesday night at the two stores from 6-9pm.

Dubbed ‘Quiet Time’, the stores will become a more sensory inclusive environment by dimming the lights, having less sound, and increasing signage. Staff at both stores have also participated in Autism SA’s inclusion training.

Emily Bourke, Assistant Minister to the Premier of SA, said the move means that members of the autistic community and their families can do their weekly shopping with the confidence of knowing that staff are trained in autism inclusion and the built environment will be more sensory friendly.

“For many, a job in the retail industry is their first entrance into the workforce. Having autism inclusion training available to staff to help build knowledge will not only help autistic customers, it will equip staff with the inclusive practices that will extend beyond their jobs and into their everyday lives.”

Autism is a neurological difference in the way that individuals experience and respond to the world around them. There are over 200,000 Australians who are autistic, with one in four Australians having an autistic family member.

Helen Graham, CEO of Autism SA, said they hope to see more businesses come forward to introduce inclusive practices.

“We’re delighted to partner with Drakes to deliver ‘Quiet Time’. Drakes has a long-standing reputation of supporting the South Australian community and this is just another way they are delivering for our state.”

John-Paul Drake, Director of Drakes, said their team are excited to be trialling a sensory inclusive shopping experience in their stores, offering an even friendlier environment for their customers and the communities they all live in.

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