Lifeway Mobility breaks onto home accessibility scene
WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. – Paul Bergantino is no stranger to the HME industry and he’s using that fact to his advantage.
Nearly 25 years to the day after starting Connecticut Rehab, which later became ATG Rehab and then Numotion when ATG merged with United Seating & Mobility, Bergantino closed on the acquisition of EASE, a Windsor Locks, Conn.-based accessibility equipment provider, and used it as the foundation for his new company, Lifeway Mobility.
“We acquired the majority shares of Ease and we brought that team and their momentum into Lifeway,” said Bergantino, president of Lifeway and former CEO of ATG and Numotion.
Based in Windsor Locks, Conn., Lifeway Mobility offers accessibility assessments and installs ramps, stair lifts, wheelchair lifts, bath safety products and transfer aids.
When it comes to starting a new business, Bergantino says there’s a significant advantage to having already built a successful company from the ground up.
“We’re using a lot of components from our previous (business) plan that are proven, rather than putting words on a page and hoping we’re going down the right path,” he said.
It doesn’t hurt he’s already a well-known figure in the industry, particularly when it comes to making business deals.
“When we sit in front of people, whether that be potential investors, suppliers or clinicians, they look at us as people with credibility,” he said.
Some of the lessons Bergantino took with him from his days at ATG and Numotion include focusing on one market and doing it well, as well as striking the right balance between local autonomy and corporate oversight.
“When we acquired companies, we integrated them,” he said. “But we were very careful to make sure they maintained local autonomy, because the needs of consumers and clinicians in Connecticut were very different than Alabama or California.”
Moving forward, Bergantino plans to grow Lifeway much in the same way he grew ATG Rehab: by acquiring companies based on their culture rather than their geographic location.
“We really are tearing pages out of that playbook,” he said. “When you look at ATG’s start—the first few acquisitions were scattered from East Coast to West Coast. That will be very similar to ours.”