Editor's Note

Focusing on the Positive

By design, industry publications such as Mobility Management spend a lot of time talking about troubleshooting and managing industry challenges. But this can make for a doom-and-gloom tone sometimes. “Where’s the good news?!?” ask people desperate for a respite. So this month, I’ll focus this column on a mobility business that I think is doing a lot of things right.

Recently, a member of my family needed some over-the-counter durable medical equipment following surgery. I volunteered to find a neighborhood provider and one Google search later happened upon Wellness Medical Equipment & Supplies in La Palma, Calif.

Keith Coffman — who co-owns the business along with Gerry Garcia and Elaine Reyes, RN — answered the phone. He picked up promptly on the first ring, and that turned out to be indicative of my dealings with this company.

Wellness Medical Supplies

My thanks to Keith Coffman, one of Wellness Medical Supplies’ owners, for holding my DME items till Saturday!

Keith had the supplies I needed, and he was willing to hold them for me until I could drive there after work. Then my plans changed, and I had to call Keith back and apologize and beg him to hold them till Saturday. Throughout my rather frenzied explanations, Keith was pleasant, professional and entirely reassuring, which was exactly what I needed after several weeks of driving among doctors’ appointments, hospitals and emergency rooms.

On Saturday, I arrived shortly after 10 a.m., and Keith greeted me with a smile. The store, right next to a Walgreens and just blocks from a community hospital and its ER, had been open less than a month when I visited. The layout is open and inviting; shelves are well stocked, but not jammed or cluttered with merchandise. I moved easily among displays of scooters, lift chairs, bath safety equipment, aids to daily living, and other DME. The store is well lit, clean, roomy. It makes a great first impression; I felt confident walking in, and Keith quickly retrieved the items I needed.

And that’s not all that Wellness Medical is doing right.

Keith and his fellow owners are working hard on introducing themselves to their community. The mayor would be visiting in a few days for a formal grand opening and ribbon-cutting; there would be refreshments and special pricing for the event. A community open house would follow the next weekend: More food, but also free blood pressure screenings and blood glucose testing for visitors.

Elaine, who has specialized in wound care in the past as a nurse, says prevention is a major goal at Wellness Medical. They plan to offer weekly free blood pressure testing to the community as part of that theme and hope to offer other types of screenings as well.

In addition to keeping tabs on what their community needs, Wellness Medical’s owners adapted their business model to today’s economic realities: This store will focus on retail sales. Customers who, for instance, want Medicare to pay for their purchases will be referred to Integrated Medical Services, a sister DME business in Torrance, Calif.

It’s clear that Keith, Elaine and Gerry have put a lot of thought into making this new business venture a success. What are you doing to succeed in these tough times? Let me know, and I’ll happily share your good news, too.

This article originally appeared in the November 2011 issue of Mobility Management.

About the Author

Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at lwatanabe@1105media.com.

Rolling Dynamics, Rolling Resistance &  Optimizing Wheeled Prosthetics