Merits builds home access division

Pilot and its straight stairlift will make big debut at Medtrade
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Friday, July 14, 2017

CAPE CORAL, Fla. – The stairlift market, one dominated by a few long-time players, now has a new player: Merits Health Products.

Merits Health has launched a home access division called Pilot and its first product offering is a straight stairlift. It has been manufacturing a similar product for other companies for 19 years.

“So we’re not new to this market or this product line,” said Chris Blackmore, national director of business and product development for Merits Health. “But at this point, we thought we should have our own division.”

Merits Health will debut Pilot and the stairlift at Medtrade in October.

Pilot plans to leverage Merits Health’s existing customer base: The company is best known for its standard manual and power wheelchairs, and a complex rehab division called Avid Rehab, launched in 2015, offers a complex rehab power wheelchair called the Vector.

“Those companies that we’re offering a stairlift to, we could already be providing them a power wheelchair or a complex rehab chair,” Blackmore said. “We’re offering such a complete line now—no other manufacturer is offering all three of these product lines. We can offer some savings.”

Merits Health has brought onboard a husband-and-wife team, Andy and Lisa Scothern, to head up Pilot. Previously, they worked at Handicare, which manufactures stairlifts, as well as safe patient handling and bathroom safety products. Blackmore also worked at Handicare before helping Mertis Health launch Avid Rehab.

“We’ve brought in extremely experienced people,” Blackmore said. “Andy is outstanding in technical knowledge and sales, and Lisa in order intake.”

Pilot plans to launch a custom curved stair lift in the fourth quarter of this year, another step toward offering “a full line of home accessibility products,” Blackmore says.

“We’re excited,” he said. “We feel like we can offer feature-rich products at affordable prices.”