Knueppel finds two new ways to shine

Thursday, March 31, 2005

MILWAUKEE, Wis. -- Knueppel Healthcare Services in January shut its doors on Lisbon St. after 50 years in business and opened two new and improved locations in nearby towns.
Knueppel moved its main, full service rehab, DME and retail location to neighboring West Allis, Wis. Now the staff finds itself trying to fill twice the amount of space it had in two previous retail locations combined.
"We outgrew our two locations and literally didn't have enough room for our staff," said Cindy Ciardo, Knueppel's vice president and general manager. "We also did not have adequate space on our showroom floor."
Knueppel consolidated a 9,000-square foot store and its 4,500-square-foot rehab location into the new 25,000-square-foot building. The added floor space means more room for much needed offices, as well as more than tripling the size of the retail showroom.
"We are better able to display the products we have always carried and are expanding into new product lines in health and wellness and skin care," said Ciardo. "We also needed more warehouse space and more room in our shop area for our custom rehab equipment."
Knueppel also expanded its women's health product line with a freestanding store called Essential Image in Franklin Wis. The store's warm, inviting and private atmosphere will hopefully draw women in especially since there is nothing comparable in the area.
Ciardo said she hopes Essential Image will become a brand identity for women's health products, and each of Knueppel's other locations will devote an area separate from the main showroom to these products.
Yet, despite their recent growth successes, Ciardo said, Knueppel is realistic about the challenges ahead when considering future expansions.
"We don't want to do anything more immediately, but it's certainly an option we've discussed," she said. "The fallout of MMA, primarily competitive bidding, will impact our decision to expand or not. Milwaukee may be a targeted area for NCB, and NCB will most certainly impact us. Family owned businesses are closing or being acquired at a frightening pace with no slowdown in sight, so our main goal is to survive, preferably thrive, through these difficult times."