Belmont Sobeys in northeast Edmonton offered a sensory-friendly shopping experience for its customers Monday evening between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.
The idea was to make the grocery store a more inclusive space by providing a better experience for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder or light and sound sensitivities, so staff dimmed its lighting to half-power, and muted the music, phones and tills.
"People with migraines, people that maybe suffer from epilepsy, maybe head trauma, maybe if they have autism, that sort've thing, this really allows them to come into an environment that's not abrupt, not overly stimulating, where sometimes a bread slicer or humming or clicking or maybe an oven going off or an alarm really, sounding an abrupt sound, that can really affect people," explained Belmonst Sobeys owner Jerry MacLachlan.
"It's really just allowing some folks that have sensory concerns to be able to come and shopt at a more friendly environment."
The Sept. 30 event is the official launch of their sensory-friendly shopping experience. The Belmont location was one of more than 100 stores participating.
"This is the first one, so we're going to learn from this one. And we're going to find out, maybe something we didn't even pick up on affected somebody in a negative way, so feedback is really a gift from folks that shop with us."
MacLachlan said the event would continue to happen every Monday.