Where are you, long established grocers? Walmart. Publix. Kroger. Albertsons. Why are parents still having to push a wheelchair (that their little child doesn't even fit it) and pull a shopping cart with one hand just so they can shop for groceries with their special needs children? I see all those cute little shopping carts that look like cars, parked over to the side going un-used. But special needs kids DO NEED to be safe in a grocery cart, a cart created to meet their needs.
Can we please see some shopping carts (Caroline's Cart) for parents of special needs kids in EVERY STORE? Not just Belle Food. But for the time being, as long as Belle Food's is where I can find Caroline's Cart, that's where you'll find me spending my grocery and pharmacy dollars. My son isn't special needs. But someone's child is. And showing support is always in fashion.
Caroline's Cart was created by Drew Ann Long, who wanted to make grocery shopping easier for moms of children with special needs, like herself. Pushing a wheelchair and shopping cart at the same time is difficult.
In the past few years, the cart has grown from a concept she designed at her dining room table, nurtured through several prototypes and launched in an initial manufacturing run of 100 carts.
Along the way, it's gained fans around the world through a grassroots marketing effort on Facebook.
Now, Birmingham-based Belle Foods, the company that recently purchased Southern Family Markets' 57 grocery stores in the Southeast, will be the first retailer to offer Caroline's Cart to shoppers.
This week, Belle Foods is kicking off a rebranding campaign for its stores in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Florida that operate under banners including Bruno's, Food World and Piggly Wiggly.
On Wednesday, the company held a ribbon-cutting at the Bruno's store at U.S. 31 and Lorna Road in Hoover, which is now known as Belle Foods. Next week, the Food World in Alabaster will be converted to a Belle Foods.
At both of those stores, two to three Caroline's Carts will be available, said Paul McLaughlin, a spokesman for Belle Foods.
Carts also will likely be available at the rest of the company's stores as it continues to roll out the new Belle Foods banner, a process that is expected to take 18 months, he said.
At the stores that have the carts, shoppers can call ahead of time to reserve one. An employee will meet shoppers at their cars with the carts and also walk them out once they finish shopping, McLaughlin said.