Harvey-Waroona Reporter - - FRONT PAGE -

Staff at Coles Aus­tralind dimmed the lights and turned off the ra­dio for 60 min­utes last Tues­day in a bid to make shop­ping eas­ier for peo­ple with autism or other sen­sory is­sues.

The store was one of three South West branches to go quiet, bring­ing the to­tal to 29 Coles branches across the state that dim things down ev­ery Tues­day be­tween 10.30 and 11.30am.

The Collie and Duns­bor­ough branches also joined Quiet Hour, an ini­tia­tive be­tween Coles and Autism Spec­trum Aus­tralia aimed at mak­ing shop­ping eas­ier for cus­tomers or their fam­ily mem­bers who are on the autism spec­trum.

Aus­tralind store man­ager Ann Cur­tis said she was happy her store now had a Quiet Hour.

“It’s a re­ally nice feel to the shop,” Mrs Cur­tis said.

“For the team and for the cus­tomers.”

Dur­ing Quiet Hour all store light­ing is re­duced, the ra­dio is switched off, there are no PA an­nounce­ments and all reg­is­ters and scan­ner vol­umes are turned down to the low­est set­ting.

To re­duce noise and dis­trac­tions even fur­ther staff hold off on trol­ley col­lec­tions and the use of roll cages to re­stock items, and the store in­stead has ad­di­tional staff for cus­tomer sup­port.

“For some cus­tomers the noise can some­times be too much for them,” Mrs Cur­tis said.

“This is so much calmer. It is a bet­ter en­vi­ron­ment for them.”

Mrs Cur­tis said the re­sponse from cus­tomers so far had all been pos­i­tive.

“We’ve re­ceived great feed­back from cus­tomers – they love it.”

Store duty man­ager Kim­berly McDon­ald and store man­ager Ann Cur­tis keep the vol­ume down low dur­ing the first quiet hour at Coles Aus­tralind.

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