Alick's sees 'opportunity' in wheelchairs

Monday, April 25, 2011

ELKHART, Ind. - Add Alick's Home Medical Equipment to the list of providers who are trying to push their standard and complex wheelchair divisions into the forefront.

"We're getting more aggressive," said Chuck Harris, an assistive technology professional (ATP) and director of rehab at Alick's, a five-location provider that employs 120. "In our TV and print ads, we've always marketed ourselves as a community-oriented resource for everything from diabetic shoes to nutrition, but now we're trying to drive the mobility side of things."

Harris came onboard late last year. Formerly, he worked for ATG Rehab and Fuller Rehab.

One of Harris' first moves: Ramp up staffing. The division used to be a one-man operation; now it has two ATPs and one sales rep focused on standard power wheelchairs, a product category that, despite the elimination of the first-month purchase option on Jan. 1, Harris has high hopes for.

"It's a challenge, but it's also an opportunity," he said. "There are going to be a lot of people getting out of that part of the business."

Harris plans to make providing standard power wheelchairs as rental items doable by, among other things, pursuing better pricing from manufacturers and by limiting the types of wheelchairs it provides.