Kiss your ice cream shakes goodbye

Sunday, February 29, 2004

OMAHA - Even with deep Medicare cuts scheduled for DME, selling equipment is still more lucrative than scooping ice cream.
We all scream for ice scream. The ice cream counter at Kohll’s was a fixture in the community for 50 years, until it was cleared out to make way for an expanded DME showroom.

Kohll’s Pharmacy and Homecare in January made the difficult decision to remove the store’s 56-year-old ice cream soda fountain, which had been a fixture in the community since the Kohll family opened its first store in downtown Omaha.

“We are in a nice, older part of town and people have come to the ice cream fountain since they were kids, so there was an attachment to it,” said owner David Kohll. “I remember coming to the soda fountain when I was a kid.”

Ultimately the change was necessary to make room for the company’s growing line of HME and supplies, including the addition of Post-Prenatal Center. The center will carry a variety of supplies for new and expecting mothers, which fills a niche within the Omaha market, according to a company spokesperson. The space also will house wheelchairs and other mobility products and allow for better patient care and privacy.

Kohll also said the soda fountain distracted from the professional nature of the business, which, with seven locations, has become a leading provider of vaccinations, custom-made prescriptions and home medical supplies.

“It’s going to be nice to have a whole set up of healthcare professionals. It’s more of a mesh than when you throw in the high school student with the temporary job,” said Kohll.

“It’s another step toward displaying the right image,” he added.

The company made a similar step toward strengthening its position as a healthcare leader in 2001 when it dumped cigarettes and alcohol from its product line.

The soda fountain was not dumped, however. Kohll’s donated it to the nearby Douglas Health Center, which provides healthcare for those in need.