Best of 2019: Deaf-Friendly Businesses Who Went the Extra Mile

Posted by: Staff Writer on Dec. 29, 2019

What a year 2019 was! We saw the Deaf ecosystem in full force as more Deaf owned businesses than ever reached new and loyal customers alike. It was also a banner year for deaf-friendly businesses of all stripes who went the extra mile to ensure their Deaf and hard of hearing customers received accessible and deaf-friendly service. Our annual "Best of" list is based on actual Deaf consumer experiences shared on our website in the form of reviews. This year there were three businesses that stood out to us. Read on to find out who they are!

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ACT Theatre Logo  ACT Theatre - Seattle, WA


ACT Theatre is one of those businesses that do more than the minimum to ensure their Deaf patrons feel valued and cared for. Not only do they find myriad ways to create a deaf-friendly experience through providing interpreters for their shows, ensuring captions are readily available by offering iPads to theater-goers with captions ready, they also have staff who know ASL. And for those who don’t? A whiteboard and dry erase pen is at the ready to ensure smooth communication with Deaf and hard of hearing audiences. Even more laudable is their support of Deaf artists. They produced an ASL production of Romeo and Juliet replete with talented Deaf actors such as esteemed Shakespearean actor Howie Seago and Broadway’s Joshua Castille. 

This business took the Deaf-Friendly Customer Service training in 2019, made our Best Of List in 2017, and were added to the Deaf Spotlight Accessibility Index in 2019, showing that their deaf-friendly business practices are part of a well established and ongoing effort to ensure their business is accessible for their Deaf and hard of hearing patrons. Bravo! 

But don’t take our word for it. See the comments left by impressed reviewers below: 

“Personally, I am a fan of ACT Theatre. They are the most deaf-friendly theatre I have ever come across! I love that every person at that theater makes a point to have eye-contact with me and quickly identify if I am deaf or not.” - Kate

“The experience left me feeling giddy that I was able to enjoy and witness two very well known Deaf actors in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community.” - Jules

 

Julie Cameron Damon headshot  Julia Cameron's Magical Mystical Massage Tour - Longmont, CO

This deaf-friendly business is no newcomer to our Best Of List. This is the fifth year of making the list and no wonder. This business is proof positive that once you win over a Deaf customer, they are loyal for life. With 55 (and counting!) reviews stretching back years, loyal customers keep coming back and keep spreading the word that this business is pure magic. 

At the heart of their deaf-friendly experience is Deaf sole proprietor Juila Cameron whose special touch and ongoing care and regard for her customers make all the difference. Review after review extrapolate her talent, kindness, and commitment to providing the very best experience possible for her customers.  

Check out our reviewer’s abundant praise: 

She is thoughtful, intrinsic and a compassionate individual who truly cares about your own well-being and wants you to have a wonderful session.” - Eric Gugger

“I explained that I'm normally not a fan of massages due to a couple of bad experiences, she was receptive to that and asked me to explain why so she could approach it differently. She also asked me about what I liked, what I didn't like, what was OK, what was not OK, etc. The best part was the direct communication in ASL as Cam is Deaf herself!”- ktquiet

 “I love her magic hands. I highly recommend a visit.”  - anonymous

 “I would not hesitate to refer people to Cam. She is a true professional as well as a beautiful spirit. She is able to communicate in ASL and her business is Deaffriendly” - LaRonda Zupp 

 

 Tempe Mission Palms Entrance  Tempe Mission Palms  - Tempe, AZ

When a business knows they will receive an influx of Deaf guests most businesses do the bare minimum. Not this gorgeous hotel in Tempe, AZ. Not one to settle for good enough, this business proactively took matters in their own hands. Prior to hosting the Deaf Women United Conference in July 2019, they took the Deaf-Friendly Customer Service Training to ensure they would give their Deaf guests an extraordinary experience. Deaf guests were given the five-star treatment by staff who went the extra mile to communicate with guests in a variety of ways. Our reviewers deeply appreciated the extra efforts staff took to connect, communicate and create a memorable deaf-friendly experience for conference attendees.

The staff were very friendly and very willing to communicate with deaf women, either by signing a little, using gestures, or pen and paper.” - Lisa H 

This review is for the gentleman who brought my room service this AM named Cameron. When he arrived with my food, he flicked the lights in the hall which is how I knew my food was here. I went to open it and he was smiling big and signed "GOOD MORNING".  He accepted my gestures and pointing to him and was comfortably gesturing back. He even hand wrote me a note that he added some extra cold waters for today and extra fruit! Kudos to Tempe Mission Palms for hiring employees like him and for Cameron for making me feel welcomed and valued! Its rare I give 5 stars, but due to the efforts with Sign Language, it made my day!” - echo

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Thank you to all the deaf-friendly businesses in 2019 who made a point in making their business accessible to Deaf and hard of hearing customers and to all the Deaf and hard of hearing people who took the time to tell us about them! 

Know a business that deserves to be on this list in 2020? Head to our website and write a review

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