Massachusetts Whole Foods Incorporates Braille on its Labels

November 7, 2011
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Tucked between the Carroll Center for the Blind and the Perkins School for the Blind, National Braille Press president Brian MacDonald knew that the Newtonville, Mass., Whole Foods would serve as an ideal venue for applying clear Braille labels to bakery items.

When executives from the National Braille Press, Boston, heard about a blind California boy who launched Braille labels at a Whole Foods store, they knew it was an effort they wanted to join.

Terri Petrunyak, marketing and community relations director for the Newtonville, Mass., Whole Foods, said it was a no-brainer for the company as it seeks to serve and satisfy all customers. She says the moves fits the company’s core values. “One of the things Brian mentioned is pretty much the only places you see Braille are elevators, ATMs and restaurant signs. You don’t see it in grocery stores,” Petrunyak says. “It’s an effort to try and foster some independence, and it’s an interesting project for us.”

Beginning in mid-October, the store first added clear Braille labels to its produce. In addition, the store will create a one-page Braille document to tell customers what’s in which section. The next step is to label bakery items and then head to the frozen aisle.

“It’s an ongoing project,” she says. “We’re going department by department to evaluate it and see what we need to do to change it or make it better. The nine-month goal is an interactive map.”


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