Once a week, from 7 p.m. through 8 p.m., New Seasons Market’s stores will offer a calm and sensory-friendly shopping environment by refraining from making overhead announcements, playing music and lowering the volume of walkie talkies.
Pacific Northwest independent grocer New Seasons Market has introduced a Sensory Friendly Hour. Once a week, from 7 p.m. through 8 p.m., the food retailer’s stores will offer a calm and sensory-friendly shopping environment by refraining from making overhead announcements, playing music and lowering the volume of walkie talkies.
“New Seasons Market has always prioritized our customers’ needs and desires, and we believe that everyone should feel comfortable while shopping with us,” explained Nikotris Perkins, senior director of diversity, equity and inclusion at Portland, Ore.-based New Seasons. “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.”
According to New Seasons, the initiative “aligns with [its] core values of providing the very best shopping experience and understanding the unique requirements of its diverse customer base. By introducing the Sensory Friendly Hour, the company aims to foster a welcoming atmosphere, ensuring shopping is an enjoyable experience for all.”
While Sensory Friendly Hour will always take place at the same time, it will vary by day based on location:
Monday: Orenco Station, Slabtown, Milwaukie (opening 2024)
Tuesday: Palisades, Sellwood, Seven Corners
Wednesday: Arbor Lodge, Cedar Hills, Progress Ridge
Thursday: Concordia, Fisher’s Landing, University Park
Friday: Grant Park, Happy Valley, Williams
Saturday: Hawthorne, Main Street, Mountain Park
Sunday: Nyberg Rivers, Raleigh Hills, Woodstock
Other retailers offering sensory friendly hours for customers include Walmart, which provided them on Saturdays in July and August, between 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., during the back-to-school shopping season.
New Seasons employs nearly 2,700 associates at its 20 stores in Oregon and Washington state, offering a mix of locally sourced and organic items, classic grocery favorites, and chef-made grab-and-go meal solutions. The grocer commits 10% of its after-tax profits to the communities it serves. New Seasons and its sister banner, Santa Cruz, Calif.-based New Leaf Community Markets, an organic and natural grocer with a handful of stores along California’s Central Coast, are independent operators within the Good Food Holdings family of brands.