Drew Ann Long had a daughter with special needs and a two-year-old son, and grocery shopping with them was difficult to say the least. The kids liked outings, and she wanted to take them, but driving a shopping cart and a wheelchair at the same time was not working. So she started to think about ways she could combine the two and came up with Caroline’s Cart, named after the inspiration, her daughter.
Caroline’s Cart is a shopping cart in the front and has a seat large enough for an adult to ride around in comfort. Its versatility makes it suitable for both disabled kids and seniors with limited mobility, and it can accommodate a person up to 250 pounds. The seat faces the back of the cart for easy access. The cart has a footrest and also an adjustable seat belt for safety. Drew Ann recalled that, after one particularly difficult shopping trip, she sat down and worked out the design for Caroline’s Cart. The inventive mom said, “We’re on the go, and I want to include Caroline in everything I possibly can.”
The next step was to take the cart from design to reality. So Drew Ann founded Parent Solution Group, LLC, applied for a patent and sought legal and business help to bring the cart to the public. She needed a manufacturer and found one in Technibilt, a North Carolina company. Technibilt is North America’s largest shopping cart manufacturer and was also able to distribute the completed product through a network of manufacturer’s representatives. The goal was to make Caroline’s Cart available in all the major supermarkets, retailers and malls. Not only would that help families and caregivers, but would also generate goodwill for participating stores that would lead to repeat business. It would be a win-win for everyone.
Caroline’s Cart has been featured in many news outlets. Cnn.com ran a video and said, “A mom re-imagines the shopping cart for customers with special needs.” Today.com reported the cart’s first sale with, “A shopping cart designed by an Alabama mom to help parents navigate stores with special needs children will soon be available to use at one of the country’s biggest retailers.” The retailer was Target, which promised to provide at least one Caroline’s Cart in most of its U.S. stores. Juan Galarraga, senior vice president of store operations at Target, said, “Caroline’s Cart can be a game-changer for families.” Drew Ann’s reaction to the success of her brainchild was “It blows my mind.”
Today, Caroline’s Cart is in Food Lion, Walmart, Kroger, Giant and many more as well as Target. The Caroline’s Cart website at www.carolinescart.com says, “It provides parents and caregivers a viable option to transport a child through a store while grocery shopping, without having the impossible task of having to maneuver a wheelchair and a traditional grocery cart at the same time.” It definitely does. Over a million children in the U.S. are disabled, and many seniors also need help with mobility. It would be great if every retailer got on board with Caroline’s Cart.