Countdown Hawera re-imagines accessible supermarket shopping

Outside the Hawera Countdown  Ribbon cutting at Hawera Countdown

We were delighted to attend the re-opening of Countdown Hawera, officially opened by Minister Sepuloni on Wednesday 8th May.

After almost 2 years of consultation and Design Plan review, hundreds of detailed design plan changes were recommended and accepted in the new store format – from a detailed external access and wayfinding plan - to superior parking and drop-off facilities including allowance for new types of transport. The lead architect, ASC, has been completely engaged and supportive of approach and detail required to ensure delivery in the build. 

There are so many fantastic improvements, but we particularly love the big fonts on the signage (incorporating te reo Maori as well), the wider aisles and the improved lighting levels. The store provides mobility scooters for use customer use, and also an EV charging station within the supermarket. The supermarket is fitted with both audible and visible alarm systems, plus plans for introducing Quiet Hours for those who prefer a low-sensory shopping experience. The list of awesome improvements goes on!

We’ve loved working with Countdown on this project, and we’ve loved their attitude to exploring what is possible – going above and beyond code and incorporating great design along the way- in order to create an accessible and welcoming shopping environment. The outcome is an awesome shopping experience for all proving that with better design, everyone benefits.

Amazing work Woolworths NZ- we’re blown away by your commitment to continuing your accessibility journey and taking your learnings to your future store designs nationwide!