The Comfort Company & Prairie View Industries Become Partners

The Comfort Company and Prairie View Industries (PVI) have announced a partnership "to maximize their quality-driven product offering to providers nationwide."

As of July 1, providers became able to order PVI products - including folding, modular, solid and threshold ramps - by contacting The Comfort Company's sales force. Providers can also continue to order PVI product directly from PVI.

In an interview with Mobility Management, Comfort Company VP of Marketing Eric Murphy said, "The Comfort Company will be handling all sales and marketing for the PVI product offering. The Comfort Company's sales force will carry the PVI line under its consumer DME line of products. This relationship will allow PVI to spend considerable resources on product development and creating innovative products for years to come."

Another Strategic Partnership

The announcement of the partnership with PVI follows October's news that The Comfort Company had partnered with PDG Mobility. The Comfort Company now handles all American sales for PDG, which is based in Vancouver and manufactures pediatric, adult and bariatric manual wheelchairs.

As with the PDG agreement, Murphy says the new partnership arrangement between PVI and The Comfort Company is not a merger, and both companies will continue to operate independently.

Still, is this a trend in the making?

Murphy noted that The Comfort Company, headquartered in Bozeman, Mont., started as a manufacturer focusing on the long-term care market.

"From there we branched out and spent a lot of time and energy on developing our high-end rehab line," he said. Development of the complex rehab division culminated in June's launch of The Comfort Company's custom seating line, called Comfort Designs (see news story in this section).

With the rehab division firmly established, Murphy says, "We did a lot of observing out there. A lot of our customers are trying to diversify their businesses with cash sales."

In response, The Comfort Company created a line called Premier Comfort, a collection of retail-targeted seating and ADL products launched in April. Murphy says the manufacturer has also formed a third division: "Our consumer/DME division, which now will have Premier Comfort and PVI. We're trying to offer our customers an array of products that are going to cover more than just one area." While PVI and PDG focus on different aspects of the seating & mobility market - accessibility and positioning wheelchairs, respectively - Murphy says there are some commonalities between the two companies.

"Similar to PDF, PVI has really spent their energy on the product development side of things," he says.

A Growing Retail Strategy

PVI's portfolio includes an array of ramps, from threshold varieties to modular ramps that can handle rises up to 60". PVI also offers the TrekAway line of hitch-mounted carriers that enables consumers to take their scooters and power chairs with them while traveling by car.

Expect The Comfort Company and PVI to support their new partnership by exhibiting at industry and consumer events that highlight retail products. And, Murphy added, expect more activity as The Comfort Company seeks to grow its new sector.

"We have other opportunities that we're looking at right now that would fit into that division," he said. "We will look at those and try to fill out that line to add more value to what we're bringing to our customers."

About the Author

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

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