Business

Is Your Shop ADA Compliant?

Everyone is welcome at your shop, but is your space welcoming to people with disabilities?
Photo Credit: Global Reach

Author: Jackie Holbrook

Archery is accessible to everyone, including 50 million Americans with disabilities, especially because of recent advances in adaptive archery. Is your store a welcoming place to these potential customers?

The Americans with Disabilities Act protects people with disabilities from any form of discrimination, and that includes ensuring them easy access to stores.

If you own an archery shop, here’s what you must know to ensure you’re following the rules:

Do I Need to Comply?

If you own an archery shop that offers any type of sales or services, regardless of your store’s size, you must comply with ADA regulations. The ADA establishes 12 categories of public accommodations, which are defined as public and private businesses that provide goods and/or services. Archery businesses fall into the “stores and shops” category.

“You must remove physical ‘barriers’ that are ‘readily achievable,’ which means easy to accomplish without much difficulty or expense,” says Paul Chaney. Photo Credit: 101 Mobility

What if My Shop is in an Older Building?

When the government revised the ADA’s accessibility laws to create the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, it set minimum access requirements for new buildings. These codes also extend to older buildings. No buildings are “grandfathered” in. That’s because the ADA is a civil rights law, not a set of building codes. Landlords leasing buildings and tenants renting space must both comply with the 2010 law.

In a Small Biz Trends article, writer Paul Chaney addresses the expenses and complications of modifying existing buildings to meet ADA standards.

“You must remove physical ‘barriers’ that are ‘readily achievable,’ which means easy to accomplish without much difficulty or expense,” Chaney wrote. “The ‘readily achievable’ requirement is based on the size and resources of the business. Larger businesses with more resources are expected to take a more active role in removing barriers than small businesses. The ADA also recognizes that economic conditions vary. When a business has resources to remove barriers, it is expected to do so, but when profits are down, the business may reduce or delay barrier removal.”

If you’re a small business struggling to pay for updates to your shop, financial help is available. According to the ADA, Internal Revenue Service codes can help small businesses comply with ADA regulations through a Disabled Access Credit. That program is available to businesses with 30 or fewer full-time employees or total revenues of $1 million or less the previous tax year. Eligible expenses can include the cost of removing barriers and making alterations to improve accessibility, providing sign-language interpreters, or making information available through Braille, audiotape or large print.

What Updates Must I Make?

The ADA outlines four priorities for businesses to make buildings easily accessible and comfortable for people with disabilities.

Priority 1 – Accessible approach and entrance.

Priority 2 – Access to goods and services.

Priority 3 – Access to public toilet rooms.

Priority 4 – Access to other items, such as water fountains and public telephones.

To meet some basic ADA requirements, your store should have:

  • Handicapped parking;
  • Accessible routes to an accessible entrance;
  • Curb ramp;
  • An entrance at least 36 inches wide,
  • Doors open easily (5 pounds maximum force);
  • Grab bar along the toilet;
  • Lower counter and clear floor space.

The ADA provides small businesses a detailed checklist for how to update existing buildings to meet ADA standards.

The ADA has provided small businesses with an extremely detailed and helpful checklist for how to update existing buildings to meet ADA standards. Photo Credit: Dreamstime

Policies and Procedures

ADA compliance also extends to store policies. To ensure compliance, check out the ADA’s helpful resource book for small businesses, and make sure your policies don’t make things difficult for people with disabilities. For example, your shop might have a no-pets policy, but you must allow service animals to accompany their owner. Or if you have dressing rooms and allow only one person inside at a time, you must allow shoppers with a disability to bring a companion if they need help trying on clothes.

Questions? Help is Available!

Learning what you must do to comply with the ADA, and how to make those fixes, can seem confusing and overwhelming. But the ADA has resources available to help. The ADA checklist is a step-by-step guide that helps you analyze your store and find solutions. Another ADA booklet helps you review your store policies, and offers tips on helping people with disabilities.

ADA website: http://www.ADA.gov/

ADA Information line
800-514-0301 (Voice)
800-514-0383 (TTY)

Share This Story