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- Efforts of Kawamura Fruits
Efforts of Kawamura Fruits 1-6-8 Kyodo, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo
Bad news travels fast, but good things take time. That's why, if you give up too soon, you'll never get to where you want to be.
Thinking about and sharing information on the site to form an approach
Setagaya Nodai Street is located along the road leading to Baji Park, the equestrian competition venue of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. For many years, Kawamura Fruits has watched over the local comings and goings from its corner of the lively shopping street. According to Masatoshi Kawamura, the chairman of the Setagaya Nodai Street Promotion Union and the owner of Kawamura Fruits, individual business owners are responsible for supporting the shopping street, people tend to gather at bustling places, and it is necessary to do something for people wherever they gather. He talked to us about his company's specific efforts.
Making the entire shopping street easy for disabled people to visit when they go out
In 2017, we cooperated with efforts by the ward to install goods on a trial basis intended to make the shopping street easier to shop on and use. Specifically, this involved selecting up to two of the following items to install on a trial basis: simple slopes for getting rid of steps, writing boards, braille menus, voice-code menus with photos, and communication boards. Since our store has no steps, and we don't need menus, we chose communication boards. Based on past experiences with language-impaired people, we thought the boards would be good to have around.
When the assistance equipment was installed on a trial basis, it was more or less possible to guess what kind of equipment would help each store the most. Of course, this sort of assistance equipment doesn't generally result in an increase in customers immediately upon introducing it, but I don't think that means it's okay not to bother introducing it. I believe that the installation of such assistance equipment throughout the shopping street to create an environment that is easy for disabled people to visit makes it possible for them to go out without having to worry.
We also built a rest area called Heartful Machi no Eki on the shopping street. We thought it would be better to have a place where people could relax while shopping and where people with babies could easily change their diapers.
It wasn't easy to find a good property, but we finally found one four years ago, received a subsidy, and opened the rest area. The subsidy only covered three years, so now the rest area is run by using membership fees.
The shopping street's administrative board sows the seeds, while employees cultivate the field
The reason our store's products are displayed in a flat arrangement and kept on low shelves is to make them easy for wheelchair users, elderly people, and children to reach.
In addition, although this effort isn't specifically related to achieving accessibility, we have also created Health and Medical Maps, which provide information on shopping-street hospitals, etc., and leave them at stores.
There was one time when I saw an elderly person who I recognized as a frequent shopping-street visitor, and their baggage seemed heavy, so I carried it for them all the way to their house. I suppose some people might tell me to mind my own business, but I believe it is important for so-called healthy people to take action in order to create an environment that is easy to go out as well. I pursue various activities based on the mindset that the shopping street's administrative board sows the seeds, while the shopping street's employees cultivate the field.
Ongoing efforts to get where we want to be
When people suffer physical impairments due to disabilities, old age, and similar factors, it becomes difficult for them to go too far when they go out. Therefore, the number of people who want to do all their shopping close to home seems likely to increase. If such people have information about which stores respond more effectively to customers with special needs and where certain types of equipment are located, they will probably head for those stores. If the number of stores like that increases, the number of people who go out to shop should as well.
Bad news travels fast, but news about good things takes a while to travel even one centimeter.
Therefore, if we are too fast to quit just because we don't see immediate results or profit, we won't get where we want to be. We can only get there through ongoing efforts, even if they are gradual.
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