Car dealer revs up mobility business

Sunday, April 30, 2006

COLUMBUS, Kan. - The owner of a Chevrolet, Buick and Pontiac car dealership continued to expand his mobility business in March when he opened a third location.
The 5,000-square-foot location, in Joplin, Mo., features "anything that helps move people around," said Jay Hatfield, owner of Jay Hatfield Mobility. That means used cars, lowered-floor vans, lifts, power wheelchairs and scooters.
"I'd say we've doubled our mobility business in the past two years," he said. "We've put a lot more emphasis on it, because there's a growing need with the aging population."
Additionally, Hatfield said, he serves "underserved" areas with his locations in Joplin, Mo.; and Columbus and Pittsburgh, Kan. His coverage extends to northwest Arkansas.
Expanding into the mobility business has proven to be a good fit for Hatfield, largely because he already has a fully equipped service department in place.
"There's a lot of retrofitting that goes on, depending on a customer's needs," Hatfield said. "Does the customer want to ride in the driver's or passenger's seat? What's the customer's disability? Some can still walk, others have no lower mobility."
The new location features a showroom that includes a model van to show customers all that Jay Hatfield Mobility can do.
Hatfield employs eight mobility-related employees at his various locations.
The payer mix for Jay Hatfield Mobility comprises equal parts Medicare, private insurance and cash, Hatfield said.