Handicare targets U.S.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

LEHIGH VALLEY, Pa. – Handicare took “a big step” into the U.S. market recently, when it created the position of business development director and hired Chris Blackmore.

The Norway-based company has a presence in the U.S., but with Blackmore’s contacts, it hopes to make significant strides here. Previously, Blackmore was a regional vice president of sales for Pride Mobility Products.

“After 14 years, you get the opportunity to form quite a few relationships,” he said. “My goal is to quickly expand their provider network.”

To date, Handicare has been best known in the U.S. for stair lifts. The U.S. division of the company formed when RoMedic and Sterling Stairlifts, both based in Pennsylvania, were acquired and merged in 2012.

Blackmore’s goal is to not only expand Handicare’s provider network for those products, but also play a pivotal role in helping the company decide which of its other growing cadre of products to make available in the U.S. Two initial targets: the Gemini rollator and Linido bath safety lines.

“We expect to expand the number of lines considerably in the next year,” he said.

Blackmore says his conversations with providers have confirmed to him that these types of retail-oriented products are a key factor in maintaining their success going forward.

“We want providers to consider us a manufacturer that gives them the opportunity to sell high-quality products that help keep them profitable,” he said.

It’s all a “big investment” for Handicare, a company still fairly new to not only the U.S. market but also the homecare market (its roots are in the institutional market), says Jennifer Gora, marketing director.

“It’s a big step,” she said.