Earlier this year Handi-Lift received a call from Coach regarding one of their stores in Chicago that was undergoing a complete renovation and needed a custom wheelchair lift.
They saw some examples of our custom wheelchair lifts on Handi-Lift.com and wanted to discuss the design with us. The Handi-Lift team met with the Coach Planning and Design folks along with their architect, Tricarico Architecture and Design PC, in Coach’s Manhattan office and learned that their project in Chicago was in jeopardy because the contractor who had agreed to supply the lift could not meet their design requirements. Then they informed us they only had a few weeks left before they needed to open the store.
We were honored to be consulted on this project but shocked about the time line. Normally we need 12 – 16 weeks for a custom design build project and we had to figure out how to shorten that to 4 – 6 weeks.
We contacted the Garaventa factory branch in Chicago to see if they would like to partner up on this challenging project. They agreed and we immediately ordered the lifting mechanism from Garaventa Lift in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada to be built on a rush basis. The factory built the basic lift in a week and shipped it to us in New Jersey where we immediately proceeded to work on the custom car and enclosure with our fabricator INA Building Shop, in Brooklyn, New York.
Coach arranged expedited trucking and we shipped the finished lift with glass and stainless enclosure system to Chicago. There, Mark Urban lead his team at Garaventa USA — Chicago in the installation of the custom wheelchair lift and got it inspected in less than a week. It was quite a challenge coordinating all the trades. The Handi-lift team experienced a few emergency fabrication complications, which required more parts to be shipped to Chicago the same day by South West Airlines, but we finished just in time for the grand opening.
One of our goals when designing lifts for Accessibilty with Dignity is to make them look like they belong in the building and are not an after thought. In this case, we were able to achieve this goal on a very tight schedule. Coach is well known for using white extensively in their store design, specifically Benjamen Moore Bright White. Handi-Lift’s design incorporated panels painted to match the wall to pull the lift into the building.In some pictures you can hardly see that there is a wheelchair lift in the store.
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