MARQUETTE — For many of us, grocery shopping is an activity that we take for granted, but for the caretakers of those with special needs, getting around a grocery store can be difficult or even impossible.

That’s where Caroline’s Cart comes in. The unique shopping cart is named after the special needs child of Drew Ann Long. Long came up with the vision for the device, eventually bringing the concept to North Carolina-based Technibilt.

“She worked with our team here to come up with a safe and viable option for children and special needs adults,” said Alice Little, Sales and Marketing Coordinator at Technibilt. “The cart holds any child – or an adult – from 35 pounds to 250.”

Tadych’s Econofoods stores, including the one in Marquette, are among the plethora of grocers across the U.S. that have made the cart available to their customers.

“We actually saw it at an industry trade show and thought, ‘what a great idea, just to offer our customers another service,'” said Zach Quinnell, Store Manager at the Econofoods in Marquette.

The cart has made an impact in Marquette and well beyond.

“We’ve had those carts for about six months now, and the response has been wonderful,” Quinnell added. “We’ve had many people compliment us and thank us for getting them, just because it makes their shopping experience with a special needs child that much easier.”

“You can go onto our Facebook page and read letters from special needs families all day long,” Little said. “It’s made a huge impact in the special needs community. We have mothers and fathers and caregivers that could never take their child or their adult into a grocery store – they couldn’t shop with them and feel comfortable and confident.”

Many Upper Peninsula stores have already adopted Caroline’s Cart. Click here to find out more about the shopping cart, including which stores currently offer it.