Abacare modifies success

Sunday, May 31, 2009

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C.--Abacare Home Medical has gone from experimenting with vehicle modifications to becoming a serious contender, thanks to a new location dedicated to the business.

For each of the first two months of 2009, Abacare recorded about $45,000 in sales completing van and minivan modifications, mostly for people who use wheelchairs. The provider also sold “a few” used modified vehicles during that time.

“Before we opened the new location, Abacare was just dabbling in vehicle modifications,” said Travis Hayes, director of vehicle and home modifications. “The vehicle side of the business didn’t really fit in. I worked out of the warehouse, and every time I had a van in there, the next thing I knew, I had to pull it out, because the forklift had to get a box down from the third level. It was a pain.”

Abacare opened the 7,000-square-foot location in nearby North Charleston, S.C., in the fall. It features two bays and a showroom that has room for at least one van, lifts and wheelchairs.

Helping to boost sales: The location’s previous tenant, which also modified vehicles.

“We took over their phone and fax, too, so people are still contacting us, thinking we’re Mobility Unlimited,” he said. “That has helped.”

Additionally, Hayes employs a full-time marketing director (she spreads the word about Abacare’s services at area car dealerships and on online disability message boards), and leans on his 10 years of experience in the business.

“I’ve kept in touch with all my customers,” he said. “When I came to work at Abacare, I sent each one of them a letter.”

To further boost sales, Abacare planned to begin selling new modified vans and minivans this summer as a dealer for Vantage Mobility International, a manufacturer and distributor of accessible transportation.