Austin, Dallas, Houston, Portland: New Kids on the Block!
Posted by: Staff Writer on Oct. 29, 2013
A barbershop quartet isn't the only nifty thing that comes in fours. deafREVIEW has opened its review platform in not one, not two, nor three, but four bustling cities today.
Let's give a silent round of *hand wave* for these cities: Austin, Dallas, Houston, of Texas and Portland, Oregon!
We call it Century-Mile Magic: As long as the business you want to review is within a 100-mile radius of these four major cities and has a storefront, you can write consumer reviews about how deaf-friendly or deaf-challenged they are. That includes almost any business your heart desires: doctors, restaurants, lawyers, bars, yoga studio’s, beauticians, massage therapists, interpreting agencies, retail establishments, libraries, banks, and many more.
As a community-led search and review-based website for deaf, deaf-blind and hard of hearing communities, we are constantly looking for cities where a solid Deaf community presence tickles our deaf-friendly radar.
As with our California and East Coast launches, we went through an informal checklist: Plentiful deaf schools? Check. Ample deaf and deaf-blind social services? Check. Vibrant deaf social scene, with Deaf arts and theater? Check!
"This school has the best location of any deaf school in the country due to its prime location in downtown Austin," one recent Austin transplant dished about the Texas School of the Deaf. "The education there is in the top five in the country in my opinion, which is why we moved to Austin to allow one of our kids to attend this school."
But it's not just schools that gave us an inkling. It's also because of an overwhelming amount of suggestions from deafREVIEW Facebook fans who live there.
What do we, personally, love about these cities? Let us count the ways:
"Keep Portland Weird"
Look no further than the world's biggest bookstore - Powell's City of Books - to understand why Portland is a top contender for deaf-friendly vibe. The massive 68,000 square feet store includes a section for Deaf Studies-Deaf Culture (42 books in stock now). That's more than you'll ever find at your franchise bookstore, and a nod to Portland's progressive nature.
Powell's (which has already received its first review here) is only one of the many reasons we Seattleites love to make the 2.5 hour drive to Portland. We love to shop there, thanks to Oregon's lack of sales tax. Not to mention the 60+ breweries in Portland (which is home to more breweries than any other city in the world). But which deaf-friendly businesses shall we spend our hard-earned dollars on?
That's what we hope that you, dear Portland reviewers, will tell us.
While we're on the subject of keeping cities weird, meet our next deafREVIEW city: Austin, Texas!
Deaf-friendly businesses keep Austin weird, too
By now, you've heard the famous phrase "Keep Austin Weird." But do you know where it came from? It has nothing to do with people wearing tin-foil hats or weird local cuisine. Rather, it stems from the prototypical Austinite's aversion to irresponsible, rapid development. That's why Austin's SoCo hopping district is full of glorious coffee shops, eccentric stores, food trucks, trailers, festivals ...
... and a world-renowned deaf yoga studio
"Lila makes other deaf-friendly adjustments to her class. When she needs to correct a deaf student she pulls on his mat, touches his foot, or taps the floor in front of him, depending on the pose. When one woman is in cobra, Lila drops down on her stomach and elbows, facing the student’s uplifted face, and signs instructions."
- Yoga International's article "Signs of Change" describes the founder of Austin's Deaf Yoga studio.
But when deaf Austinites aren't perfecting their cobra pose, you can bet a lot of them are plugged into their wireless devices. Which leads us to our next reason why Austinites are ideal reviewers:
Per capita, more Austinites love to blog than folks in any other American city
Adults in Austin read and write blogs more than those in any other U.S. metropolitan area (source: the Nielsen Company). That's right: They have the highest internet usage in ALL of Texas. With all that bandwidth and the hunger to learn and teach via the keyboard, we welcome Austinites to broaden our platform that's 800 reviews strong ... and growing!
A local Deaf reviewer has already logged into his deafREVIEW account to praise Wazoo's, an amusement center in a prime deaf-friendly location:
"This place is right next to the Austin Club of the Deaf so they are familiar with the deaf community. They even have a working relationship where members of the Austin Club of Deaf get a discounted admission. This is a popular spot for deaf families to meet to allow their kids jump in their various bouncy stations."
Dallas Serves up a TX-sized Dose of Deaf-Friendliness
Three hours north of weird Austin, is delicious Dallas. Got a hankering for barbecue, authentic Mexican, and Tex-Mex? Chances are, you can have all that, and deaf-friendly service to boot. But the proof is in the pudding: Whether it's the local frozen margarita or steak and chophouses, your food and drinks are served by a server who is either deaf-friendly or not.
Given Texas' legendary friendliness, odds are good that we'll be seeing many reviews sprinkled with deaf-friendly anecdotes. If you’re a football fan, you’ll appreciate this 5-star rating of deaf-friendly “Cowboy Stadium”:
“Beautiful stadium! I went there for TCU football game with a group of friends! We decided to hang out in a bar inside of the stadium and I was pleased to see every single TV screen has their closed caption on!”
Three and a half hours southeast of Dallas, is the 4th largest city in the US:
"Houston, we've got deaf-friendly employers"
We'll cut to the chase about why this is an important city for our platform: It's where the money is.
This year, the U.S. Bureau of Statistics listed Houston as the No. 1 city for job creation. It was the first major city to regain all the jobs lost in the preceding economic downturn.
Last year, Forbes ranked Houston as #1 for paycheck worth.
Ka-ching! All of this equals more disposable income to spend on local deaf-friendly businesses. Naturally, in 2010, Forbes listed Houston as the best city for shopping.
The question for deaf/hh reviewers in Houston is, "which businesses are deaf-friendly, and worthy of your hard-earned dollars?"
One reviewer has already given the oldest bank in Texas, Frost Bank, a deaf-friendly thumbs up here.
Lastly, Houston is no slob when it comes to Deaf education: Its Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District, Melinda Webb school, and Houston Independent School District all have services for deaf students.
We can't wait to read your reviews!
Whether you're keeping it weird in Portland or Austin, we all share a unique experience: Being deaf/hh in a hearing world. That includes frequenting businesses which are (by and large) hearing-owned and hearing-staffed.
Thanks to fans like you, deafREVIEW just passed our 800-review milestone and 6,000 Facebook fans. Ready to write a review for Austin, Dallas, Houston, or Portland businesses? Click here to visit our website, register for a free profile and start by entering a local business into the search bar. Together we can help to educate businesses on what it means to be deaf-friendly.
Living in a city that we haven't launched in? Tell us on our Subscribe page, and we'll do our best to put your city on our review radar!
- hard of hearing
- deaf culture
- deaf community
- american sign language
- deafreview launch