ShopRite’s newest location just opened in Livingston, but with a special purpose and for select customers only. The grocer’s “store experience” can be found at LifeTown, an educational and social programming center for students and young adults with special needs to practice life skills.
LifeTown Shoppes, an indoor downtown within 53,000-square-foot recreational and educational center LifeTown, features ShopRite, a nail salon, a Regal bank, a pet shop, and more to give individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities a chance to get comfortable with day-to-day experiences like shopping for groceries or going to the bank.
Individuals who come in from schools and day programs will begin their day at LifeTown at the bank, where they will learn how to fill out a withdrawal slip and receive $12 that they can then spend on real goods at ShopRite and the other retailers. All of the money stays within LifeTown, and although they can walk away with real goods, the purpose of their trip is really to develop skills like money management, staying on task, choosing healthy food, and following a shopping list.
“The young people who come to LifeTown inspire us with their special ability to face challenges with strength, passion and commitment. ShopRite is honored to partner with LifeTown to provide a store experience that helps visitors develop life and job skills, and we look forward to working and learning together,” said Neil Greenstein, a third-generation grocer who owns the ShopRite of Newark and Brookdale ShopRite, in a prepared statement.
Annually, at least 6,500 students are expected to participate in the educational programs at LifeTown Shoppes.
All shops will be staffed by volunteers, but individuals will have the opportunity for job training at ShopRite, learning how to stock store shelves, work a cash register, and bag groceries.
ShopRite donates $100,000 to support the educational and therapeutic center.