Have you ever stopped to think about just how important grocery stores are to our community? Studies show grocery stores boost peoples’ satisfaction in their neighborhoods upon opening. Additionally, they serve as retail anchors for small businesses. In rural areas, grocery stores increase demand for other businesses such as accounting and plumbing. Finally, everyone needs food, so grocers are essential. As a result, grocery stores can create wonderful opportunities for employment success for people like the clients of Adelante who are looking for disability-friendly jobs. 

What opportunities and disability-friendly jobs do grocery stores create?

First, grocery stores provide a wide range of jobs. That might be entry level for people that don’t have job experience or extend all the way to regional management. Second, there are also a variety of jobs from a task perspective. Examples include stocking the store, running the deli or ready-made food section, cashiers, and more. Third, grocery stores often have opportunities for advancement. Adelante’s clients with disabilities are a great example. Many have found their first jobs at grocery stores. Even better, many have found ongoing, steady employment and been promoted to bigger and better jobs at grocery stores. And they work there a long time, too. Many of our “decade club” clients (those who have been employed over 10 years) work at local grocery stores!

Whitney serves KOB reporter Diana a sample of turkey she sliced in the Albertson's deli.
Whitney works in the deli at Albertsons Market. She was recently interviewed by KOB-TV 4 about her experience in the workforce as a person with a disability.

Whitney, who works at Albertsons Market, is a great example of success in the grocery field. She has been working in the deli for many years and helps new employees learn the ropes. Even with staffing shortages she manages to hold the fort down and maintains a positive attitude. A few months ago, Whitney had the opportunity to speak with KOB-TV news about her experience working as a person with a disability. “People with disabilities can do anything they put their mind to, and anything they want to, whether it’s food service or different careers,” Whitney said to reporter Diana Castillo.

Watch Whitney’s story here

Disability is part of diverse hiring

Whitney’s store manager, David Inman, told Adelante just how much it means to employ people with disabilities.

“At Albertsons Market, We ARE our community. That means our team members come from the community in which we serve. We encourage our store teams to hire people that help us create a diverse team including people with disabilities. I am truly excited about hiring people with disabilities as they bring a great culture of passion to their jobs and are dependable and reliable. I have always had success assisting people with disabilities to work for Albertsons Market as they bring a work drive that encourages other people to work harder and assist them with their jobs which creates an entire team with a strong sense of worth.”

Grocery stores are community centers

Jose wears a blue shirt and stands next to shelves in a grocery store. His job coach Terry wears a light purple shirt and stands next to him.
Adelante client José has worked at his local grocery store for almost 20 years!

Grocery stores also serve as community centers and a great social outlet for people with disabilities. How many times have you bumped into friends, neighbors, and community members at your local grocery store? Adelante client José is one individual who uses his grocery store job to participate in his community. Many people in his town have known him and his family for years. Family members, people from church, and other neighbors greet him when they go shopping. José is always ready to brighten their day with a handshake and plenty of questions about their day.

Rosie and Andrew, who also work at grocery stores with Adelante’s support, both like the social aspect of their work. Rosie works bagging groceries at Sprouts Farmers Market. She sees lots of the store regulars throughout her shift. They recognize her because they frequent the store, and they go to her line to greet her. Furthermore, having coworkers is part of feeling you are part of the community. For example, Rosie also likes to catch up with her coworkers in the break room. She has learned not only to have good working relationships through her job, but has formed friendships, as well. Andrew, who stocks the store at La Montañita Co-op, has enjoyed a similar experience. He has known many of his coworkers for years. He loves interacting with them and feeling like part of their team. Andrew has been successfully employed, with Adelante’s support, at the Co-op for over a decade. 

Grocery stores offer fresh starts, too!

Marcellus is a relatively new hire among his fellow Adelante clients, but his experience has been similar and positive. He was part of Project SEARCH at Presbyterian Rust Medical Center, which is a joint effort of Rio Rancho Public Schools and Adelante. Marcellus got trained through a variety of internships through Project SEARCH, and when he graduated he wanted a job in the community. Today, he works at Walmart near his home. Marcellus loves helping customers and being a positive influence for kids. He told Adelante that kids frequently enjoy saying “hi” to him and even want to talk. Marcellus enjoys helping others. Walmart allows him to do that every day as part of his job.

All in all, grocery stores serve as important places in our community. For Adelante, it is especially appreciated that these grocers provide disability-friendly jobs. These are essential, stable jobs with opportunities for promotion. Adelante clients can grow and thrive at their grocery store jobs for years to come.

Help create more opportunities

Adelante helps connect people with disabilities to a wide variety of jobs. It’s not just grocery stores! If you are looking to hire for your local business, please consider working with Adelante to hire a person with a disability.

If you or someone you know is looking for a disability-friendly job, reach out to us! Email ExplorePrograms@GoAdelante.org.

Marcellus is at his Walmart job. He is wearing a blue shirt and navy blue hat. Walmart has provided disability friendly jobs to several clients.

Marcellus is enjoying his new job at Walmart and within a short time he was working very independently.