Disabled Provide Customer Base
Fourteen percent of the total population some 40 million
U.S. residents have a disability, according to the Census 2000 Supplement-ary Survey. And, although this number is not directly comparable to Census results from 1990, it's clear to most experts that the number of people with disabilities is increasing.
This means the group is growing, not only in numbers, but in
To reach this group, you must look to the practical aspects of Universal Design. If you have not taken the first step, here are some ways to start:
- Make your displays accessible. No one in a wheelchair is going to buy a kitchen from a dealer whose showroom creates barriers. Be sure doorways are wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair, that there are ramps within your showroom if your floor has more than one layout, and that passageways are ample.
- Consider featuring a "granny flat" kitchen or bath among your displays.
- Take a pragmatic, rather than emotional, approach in your marketing. Disabled people are turned off by "sob story" heavy-handed communication. Emphasize the benefits universal design and products can provide.
- Be familiar with the Americans With Disabilities Guidelines. Take classes on Universal Design, and let your customers know that you have done so by hanging your diploma in your showroom.
Millions of disabled Americans will want remodeled kitchens and bathrooms to fit their personal circumstances. Now is the time to get ready to serve their needs.