April 01, 2008 // Franchising.com // - Cranbrook & Castlegar, BC – It is not every day that business owners mentor employees so they can assume the role of new owners, and then once the sale is concluded the previous owners become employees. That's precisely what happened to David Stokes and Dana Tippe, the new co-owners of MEDIchair Cranbrook/Castlegar. "It was a wonderful experience to be mentored for a year by the previous owners Michiel and Lanna van der Velden and then have them continue to work with us," says Stokes. "All things considered, the transition has been seamless. It's also comforting to have the previous owners stay on with the company as valued team members to help continue our growth. In fact Mike is now our Manager of Elevating and Lifts and Lanna is our Director of Operations."
Dana Tippe concurs that for MEDIchair Cranbrook/Castlegar, it is business as usual. "However, we can't rest on our laurels. While the home medical equipment business is strong, it is also competitive. You have to be constantly looking outside the box for ways to improve customer service. Building and maintaining one-to-one customer relationships is key to our long-term success."
Stokes explained that 2007 was a year of strong growth for both MEDIchair Cranbrook and MEDIchair Castlegar. "From the start of the year, we noticed a steady increase in demand for our HME products and services. Some of that is attributable to a healthy local economy, and the population of baby boomers who are nearing retirement and making purchasing decisions for their aging parents. The bottom line is that people are living longer than in previous generations and many are choosing to remain in their homes while others move to condominiums or assisted living retirement homes. Regardless of where they live, we have the products and services to enhance their quality of life."
"We have a huge territory to service with our staff of 12 in Cranbrook and five in Castlegar and we are trying to stay ahead of our growth curve," says Tippe. "We are striving to provide our customers with a one-stop shopping experience in a relaxed, home-like environment that allows them to consult with qualified product experts and 'test drive' a broad range of products in every category from scooters and electric wheelchairs to stair lifts and walkers."
The MEDIchair Cranbrook showroom was recently given a facelift to provide a retail environment that encourages customers to browse the complete range of products. "We've broadened our range of products, hired more staff and expanded our service fleet to include six vans," adds Stokes. "If clients cannot get to our showroom, we go to them. That's part of our service commitment to our clients."
MEDIchair, a LifeMark Health Management company, is North America's largest and fastest growing Home Medical Equipment (HME) franchise company with stores from coast-to-coast in Canada.
MEDIchair stores carry a comprehensive line of Home Medical Equipment products including wheelchairs, scooters, lift chairs, bathroom safety products, home accessibility solutions, and soft/disposable personal health care products such as incontinence supplies, wound care, compression, and bracing. These specialty products are designed to enhance the quality of life for people experiencing disabilities, injuries, surgeries, and aging. MEDIchair prides itself on providing caring, knowledgeable and highly trained consultants committed to finding the right home health care product solution for each customer. MEDIchair also promotes good health through its public education and awareness programs, and through its adherence to best practice management. www.medichair.com