Lawyer sees promise in cash HME business

Friday, September 26, 2014

When Catherine Karuga-Ndivo was ready to leave corporate law behind and open a business, her nurse husband suggested an HME store.

This summer, she opened Vondi Independent Living Supplies in Tewksbury, Mass. 

“There’s no full-line HME in this city, and there’s a huge chunk of the population that was within my target group—over 45,” Karuga-Ndivo said. “The income was above average for the state, so I just thought it would be a good city to open in.”

Vondi Independent Living Supplies offers a full line of products, including bathroom safety products, hospital beds and bedding, compression garments, braces, incontinence supplies, lift chairs, mobility aids, respiratory products, 

therapeutic shoes, pain management products, aids to daily living, and some fitness supplies.

The business is cash only—at least for now, Karuga-Ndivo says.

“I saw all the horrible changes going on with Medicare and I decided I didn’t want to bill Medicare, at least initially,” she said.

Karuga-Ndivo said she may consider accepting Medicare once she becomes more established and has the resources to hire employees.

Next on the list: establishing a regular advertising plan. Karuga-Ndivo said she staged an intense advertising campaign ahead of the store’s grand opening, but she has backed off since then.

“People are slowly getting to know about me,” she said. “Once I start advertising in earnest, I think I will get a bigger response.”