September 25, 2022

Shopping cart invented by Alabama mom going nationwide in Target stores

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By Dawn Kent Azok From AL.COM

Caroline’s Cart, the shopping cart for special needs children created by Alabaster mom Drew Ann Long, will soon be found in Target stores nationwide.

The retail giant has been testing the carts in some stores for the past year and has decided to roll them out to the vast majority of stores across the U.S. beginning in March.

Caroline’s Cart can also be found in hundreds of other stores, including Publix, Kroger, Wegmans, ShopRite and more. The carts are in stores in every state, and in other countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Norway.

But Target is the largest chain to take it nationwide.

Long, who started a grassroots effort to gain a national audience for Caroline’s Cart eight years ago, said she is thrilled with Target’s decision and believes it will prompt even more retailers to follow suit.

“I think Target doing this is really going to raise the bar,” she said. “This decision validates the need. If you’re going to provide for the able-bodied, why would you not provide for the disabled-bodied, when you have an option?”

Caroline’s Cart was inspired by and named for Long’s daughter, Caroline, who has Rett syndrome, a nervous system disorder that causes multiple disabilities.

Long found it difficult to maneuver Caroline’s wheelchair and a traditional shopping cart when she went grocery shopping, so she designed Caroline’s Cart with a special seat for her daughter and space for her groceries.

Over the years, the cart has become popular among parents of special needs children and organizations that advocate for people with disabilities.

Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 1.49.47 PMA major development came nearly three years ago, when North Carolina-based Technibilt Ltd. began manufacturing Caroline’s Cart. The carts are customized to match store color schemes, so those in Target stores will be red and stamped with the company’s bullseye logo.

In a company statement, Target said the suggestion to look at Caroline’s Cart came from one of its employees, who has a special needs child.

 “Caroline’s Cart can be a game-changer for families, and we’re excited to offer this for our guests across the country,” Juan Galarraga, senior vice president, Store Operations, for the company, said. “Target is always looking for new ways to make guests feel welcome in our stores and give them a more comfortable shopping experience. We’re always listening to both our guests and team members and making changes based their feedback.”

At least one Caroline’s Cart is expected to be available in each of Target’s U.S. stores, except for a handful of the smallest stores that don’t have full-size shopping carts. Many stores will have more than one Caroline’s Cart, depending on customers’ needs, Target said.

Long, who originally sketched the design for Caroline’s Cart on a napkin, said it’s exciting to see how far the idea has come.

She credits thousands of supporters, who have helped promote Caroline’s Cart on social media in all corners of the globe. Daily, she receives pictures from people using the carts, and it’s not just parents of special needs children.

The carts, with a seat and harness that can hold up to 250 pounds, are also popular among caregivers for seniors.

Long also credits the support of her husband David, son Matthew, and oldest daughter Mary Grace, who was recently named Alabama’s Distinguished Young Woman for 2016.

Long said selling retailers on Caroline’s Cart has been challenging, because it’s not a product they can put on their shelves and sell for a profit. In fact, providing it as a service for customers comes directly off their bottom line.

But many are now seeing the need.

“This is something I did because I believed in it, and it just took time,” she said. “And it has grown from a napkin to nationwide Target!”


The Target version of Caroline’s Cart, which the company will begin rolling out to most of its store across the nation in March. (Special to

Drew Ann Long with Caroline’s Cart, which will soon be available in most Target stores across the U.S. (File)

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