YGK Thrift has received the Kingston Celebrating Accessibility Award for the most accessible workplace and storefront in Kingston.
The City of Kingston’s Celebrating Accessibility Awards recognizes a person, group, or organization that has made or is making a significant contribution beyond legislated requirements towards improving access for persons with disabilities in Kingston.
Elizabeth Suurd, the store manager, explained that since its launch, the store has been integrating people with disabilities into its staffing, advertising, and outreach. It has been a vital part of the overall store’s plan.
“We are encouraged by this award to keep going and are determined to foster a place where people with disabilities feel at home,” Suurd said.
Suurd also shared that their business believes that accessibility is all about inclusion and should be at the forefront of business priorities. “First and foremost, accessibility and inclusion are simple matters of ethics. Many people experience a disability, or they know someone that has experienced one, at some point in their lives. A disability can impact anyone—so we all benefit from accessible businesses,” Suurd said.
“We took steps to ensure accessibility was a priority, such as making sure all individuals could access our store. We accounted for both shopping or employment needs; from the moment you walk in, you can move freely through the store’s open layout,” Suurd added.
Moreover, the store also has a relaxed exchange policy if individuals cannot try items in the store change rooms due to mobility issues. It allows them to return the item for an exchange or store credit when convenient for them. They also provide affordable pricing for their customers, aiding those with low income.
Along with the service at the store, the YGK Thrift store also ensures that its hiring process is inclusive and that opportunities are available for everyone. They have also partnered with Community Living Kingston for a photoshoot to support advertising needs on their social media platforms.
“We are confident in our fostering of a safe space for all, as we truly believe EVERYBODY can express their talents and contribute to growing our business,” Suurd said.
Founded by the Almost Home charity, YGK Thrift accepts gently used donations are accepted at YGK Thrift, with the store primarily selling modern and vintage clothing and clothing accessories.
All the proceeds from the store go towards providing temporary accommodation to families whose children receive medical treatment in Kingston area hospitals.
Story by Zoha Khalid, YGK News, for the Local Journalism Initiative