December 6, 2023

Community Applauds Blind-Friendly Businesses at New Vision’s Axy Awards

1.8 min read| Published On: December 6th, 2023|

By Cindy Peterson

Community Applauds Blind-Friendly Businesses at New Vision’s Axy Awards

1.8 min read| Published On: December 6th, 2023|

New Vision for Independence, an organization dedicated to promoting accessibility and inclusivity, celebrated businesses on Monday that excel in providing exceptional service to visually impaired individuals. The organization proudly served 264 clients in the same year, marking an 18 percent increase compared to the previous year.

“We’re trying to highlight those businesses that treat our clients with dignity,” New Vision President and CEO Chantel buck says. “That’s the low bar. But there are some businesses that go above and beyond. Maybe you run a clothing store, and one of the sales associates helps you pick out outfits, making sure your colors match. That’s easy for some of us sighted folks. That’s a lot harder for someone who can’t see or can’t see well.”

Representing “accessible,” the Axy competition included various categories such as restaurants, grocery stores, pharmacies, movie theaters, clothing stores, eye doctors’ offices, hospitals, banks, fitness centers, and salons and spas.

Finalists in the competition included Ellen’s Cafe on 3rd and Hurricane Dockside, both vying for the title of “Most Blind Friendly Restaurant,” with Hurricane Dockside taking the win. In the grocery category, Kroger Delivery and Target were finalists, with Kroger Delivery emerging as the victor. Walgreens secured the title of “Most Blind Friendly Pharmacy,” competing against CVS in the same category.

Lake Square 12 was recognized as the “Most Blind Friendly Movie Theater.” In the clothing store category, Kohl’s and Belk were notable finalists, and Belk claimed the award. Mid Florida Eye Center received the honor of “Most Blind Friendly Eye Doctor’s Office.”

The competition among hospitals featured Advent Health Waterman and UF Health Shands, with Advent Health Waterman emerging as the winner. The banking category finalists included Chase and Seacoast, and Seacoast secured the accolade. In the fitness center category, Planet Fitness and MVP in The Villages competed, with Planet Fitness winning the award.

Fantastic Sam’s was awarded the title of “Most Blind Friendly Salon and Spa.” New Vision emphasized that if a business was not nominated in a particular category, they had the potential to be nominated, highlighting the organization’s dedication to promoting accessibility and inclusivity within the community.

New Vision provides unique training to persons experiencing severe bilateral vision loss that is affecting their daily functioning in daily living, vocational, or academic activities. New Vision serves people of all ages — babies, children, teens, adults, and seniors — who reside in Lake and Sumter counties and The Villages. New Vision is the only provider of these vital services for this population in this geographic area. To learn more, visit

*See more of the winners in an upcoming issue of  Lake & Sumter Style!

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About the Author: Cindy Peterson

Originally from the small town of Berryville, Arkansas, Cindy has become a multimedia specialist in journalism, photography, videography and video editing.

She has a B.S. in Communications from the University of Central Arkansas and is a correspondent for The Daily Commercial, LakeFront TV and Beacon College’s PBS talk show, “A World of Difference,” where she received an Anthem Award and Telly Award.

When she isn’t working, Cindy spends time with her husband, Ryan, and son, David, traveling and taking photos of landscapes and wildlife.

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