Retail Stores

How to Make a Retail Store ADA Compliant

Retail stores face the unique challenge of serving the public, which means being obligated to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). While most retailers carefully follow the ADA suggestions and regulations, a couple of things can slip through the cracks and cause lawsuits.

Stores that comply with the ADA often see other benefits. For example, a display with large print to accommodate individuals with low vision will be more eye-catching for every shopper. Audio announcements can also benefit everyone.

In the past, American retail stores have faced more than 5,000 lawsuits in a year alone for failing to meet ADA requirements. The cost of these lawsuits totaled more than $100 million for retailers. With more than 19% of Americans having a disability, it’s crucial that retailers take the right steps to accommodate their clients.

In brief, the ADA establishes a broad rule that seeks to accommodate individuals with disabilities the right to participate in everyday activities, from shopping and working to navigating cities. The rule of thumb for all areas is that no business that serves the public can discriminate against individuals because of their disability.

  1. ADA Compliant Businesses
  2. Medical Establishments
  3. Shopping Malls
  4. Stores, Shops, Boutiques
  5. Restaurants and Bars
  6. Theaters and Hotels
  7. Museums and Schools

Retail ADA Pitfalls

Retail and department stores have a couple of specific trouble areas for meeting ADA standards. In general, these areas often receive the most ADA violations. These pitfall areas include parking lots, sidewalk curbs, pedestrian walkways, entrances, shelves, checkouts, dressing rooms, and restrooms.

Parking Spaces

The ADA standards require that a parking lot must include a certain number of accessible parking spaces based on the total number of parking spaces. According to the ADA, an accessible space must be 8 feet wide and have a 5-foot-wide access aisle on one side. If you rent a retail space and corresponding parking lot, you should be aware of who’s responsibility it is to set up accessible parking spaces.


The ADA holds retail store owners accountable for their curbside accessibility. Curb cuts or curb ramps make it easier for individuals with mobility devices to navigate from the sidewalk to the road. Always check to see who is responsible for the sidewalk in front of your store, whether it’s you, your landlord, or the municipality.


While automatic or push-button doors are some of the most common today for retail establishments, it’s important for stores to have at least 32 inches of space between the door and the other side. Offset hinges can also offer a solution to provide more space for navigating entrances for individuals with mobility devices.

Retail Counters

To ensure accessibility for all individuals, retail counters must be no higher than 36 inches off the floor. In some cases, the counter may be allowed to be 2 inches higher or lower, depending on the type of service. When original counters are much higher than the ADA standard, retail owners can build a new, accessible counter near the originals. Counters must also have an unobstructed space of 30-40 inches.


A wide walkway is absolutely essential for individuals with mobility devices. The minimum width requirement is 36 inches, and if the aisles are longer than 200 feet, then they must have at least 60 inches to provide clearance for passing other shoppers. Be aware of aisle displays and to allow enough passing space around them.


An ADA compliant restroom must meet very specific guidelines. Not only must you provide a large enough stall for mobility devices, but you must also be aware of the heights of the toilet and an accessible sink. Grab bars are also important. Toilet height: 19 inches Sink height: 34 inches

Creating an ADA compliant retail store is crucial for developing a world that prioritizes accessibility for all. At StrongGo, we support accessibility for all by designing and crafting our durable Tekway detectable dome tiles. Speak with an industry expert today at to find out how we can help you with your ADA compliant project.

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