Caroline’s Cart

Drew Long’s Invention, Caroline’s Cart, Makes Shopping Easier for Families with Special Needs Children

By Kara Kennedy

Carolines Cart

Shopping became increasingly challenging for Drew Long, the mother of a 10-year special needs child, that she often dreaded going to the grocery store or big box retailer because it became a constant “push and pull” scenario.  She would push her daughter Caroline’s wheelchair (Caroline cannot walk or talk) and pull a shopping cart behind her to put items in. Most of the time, Drew made small shopping trips where she could purchase items that would fit in Caroline’s wheelchair.   Her only other options were to take someone with her to shop or to find a sitter for Caroline.  After many of these frustrating shopping trips, Drew decided to commit much of the last few years to the development of a special shopping cart for her daughter Caroline so that she too could go on family shopping trips instead of being left at home or so that Drew would not have to worry about the anxiety that shopping brought on because she had to leave Caroline at home.  “When Caroline was small, I was able to use the carts that stores had,” said Drew Long, President of Caroline’s Cart.  “Now that she’s older and larger, she no longer fit in the carts, so I began to look for other options.”

Drew began her journey to invent a cart for special needs children back in 2008 when she formed her company Parent Solution Group, LLC.   She said it was challenging at first because there wasn’t a book on how to develop the product that she needed.   “I know every possible thing about shopping carts, probably more than one should know, and when I started out, there were plenty of books on how to sell your widget to Wal-Mart, but none on how to create the widget you wanted to sell,” she added.

The problem Drew told me is that it is not that retailers are purposefully excluding special needs children and adults and their families, it’s that special needs have never been highlighted like they should be.   “There are special needs children and adults in every community in the United States, and there are big retailers in these communities. The need is tremendous for this underserved market. Our goal with our company is to send a message to retailers that they should try to meet the needs of all of their customers including those with special needs children and adults.”

In the beginning, of Drew’s business, it was trial and error and when she hit a dead-end, she had to forge ahead down a new path.   Drew is now at a point where she has the nation’s largest manufacturer of shopping carts interested, but they will on supply the cart once she has created demand.  The demand part is coming along.  Just in the last few weeks Caroline’s Cart has been featured in many national and international news stories and inquiries about the cart are coming in from all over the world.

As for Drew’s business strategy, she says that you have to be personally invested in what you are doing and don’t be afraid of stepping out of your comfort zone.  She added, “If you surround yourself with people who support and encourage you, it makes what you’re doing easier.  There were times that I hit very low points with this project, but I was motivated and encouraged by my family, so I was able to persevere.”

Another area that Drew had to work on while she was developing her business and idea was how to use her time wisely.   “My car was my office, I did work in the car pool line and also used the T-Ball field as an office,” she said.  Her goal is to have the cart placed in all major retailers around the world as well as for retailers to send the message that ALL families are welcome to shop in their stores.

For more information on Caroline’s Cart visit:

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