Dura Medical grows but doesn’t forget its mom & pop beginnings

Thursday, September 30, 2004

MIAMI - For Robert Mendia, acquiring a company a third bigger than the one he already owned was easy compared to maintaining the mom-and-pop feel he had so carefully cultivated for the past 11 years.

“Before the acquisition, I’d tell my customer service people that we are competing against real tough competitors, mom and pops who have that personal touch,” said Eric Barreto, who joined Mendia as general manager following the acquisition. “That tough company I was talking about was Robert’s.”

A certified respiratory therapist, Mendia, 36, started Dura Medical Equipment in his bedroom in 1993. He acquired Bayshore Medical Equipment in May 2003 from a consortium of three hospitals and now operates branches in Miami and West Palm Beach.

Mendia, who renamed his company Bayshore Dura Medical following the acquisition, prefers not to discuss its revenue and other financial information. He will say that he financed the acquisition by “having a good relationship” with his bank, and that his company is now much stronger and has a broader geographic reach.

To his product and service mix, Bayshore contributed custom rehab, ostomy and urologicals, which complemented nicely his already strong home respiratory business.

“I always felt, however, that our service was better,” Mendia said. “Not to say Bayshore was run badly, but it was a bigger company. At 5:00, they were gone. We were in the office until 7:00 or 8:00 at night. I knew when a referral source called me that we were going to do better with the service because our response time was quicker.”

Since the acquisition, Mendia’s employee count has jumped from 30 to 70. To maintain the mom-and-pop level of service that he had before the acquisition, Media added weekend hours (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.). He also hired a full time person to make follow-up calls to every patient the day after a delivery to make sure everything is OK. On average, that employee calls 150 patients each day, Mendia said.

“Whenever there is an acquisition, there is going to be some patient fall out, patient’s who won’t be satisfied,” Mendia said. “We want to minimize that. It seems that almost on a daily basis we are going to different departments to see if we can do it better.”