ACP Home Medical builds ‘Independence Bridge’

Monday, May 31, 2004

NASHUA, N.H. - Plenty of providers run locations with obstacle courses where customers can test out wheelchairs. But ACP Home Medical Products may be the only HME in the country that houses a covered bridge for that purpose.

In fact, ACP owners, Michael and Catherine Schleipfer, have created a 3,500-square-foot, upscale, retail environment that one associate christened the “the Starbucks of HME.”

“I was looking to bring something different to the market,” Michael Schleipfer said. “We are trying to take a less medical approach, but it remains to be seen whether the public is interested in a more upscale environment versus pulling something off the shelf.”

The Nashua location complements the couple’s more traditional rental company, Alternative Care Providers, in Chelmsford, Mass.
ACP sells a wide range of HME, and deals only in cash. In addition to “Independence Bridge,” the company has set up mock bathroom and bed displays and a working stair glide. It displays lift chairs of “every imaginable size and color.”

Among its 13 employees, the company made a concerted effort to hire some “older folks in their 50s” - people who may have a better understanding of the challenges customers face.

“When you have a geriatric client who has lived a full, rich life, that individual has expecations,” Schleipfer said. “I’m not anti-young people, but I’m frustrated when I go to the grocery story and the cashier and bagger are more interested in talking about their personal lives rather than focusing on my needs.”