Penrod changes hands

Monday, June 13, 2011

SALISBURY, N.C. - Provider Craig Rae has only been in the HME business for a little over a month, but he says he's having a lot of fun.

"I can't believe I didn't do something like this earlier," said Rae. 

Rae bought Penrod Medical from retiring founder Roger Bowman in mid-May. Bowman's partner, Gary Straka, will stay on for at least the next year. Rae spent the first 29 years of his career traveling all over the world in the home improvement business and was ready to put down roots. He and his wife made the move from Wisconsin to Salisbury earlier this spring to be closer to their three children in the Charlotte area. 

"Roger and Gary have developed a nice clientele--the Veterans Administration, Medicare, private insurance companies," said Rae. "They spread it out pretty well so it's a nice balance of business." 

Rae plans to play up Penrod Medical's customer service and he will hire more delivery and repair employees. The company focuses on diabetes supplies and mobility; in the future, Rae may include wound care, among other products, but not any time soon.

"We've got a well-oiled machine that's been working very well here and I don't want to change much," Rae said. "At first I just want to get my arms around what we have now."

Straka said he wasn't ready for retirement quite yet and has moved into a part-time role focusing on VA patients. 

"I've been working with this particular VA for five years," said Straka. "If I feel like it isn't the right piece of equipment, I tell them, because they trust me. That's the main thing I've built and Craig didn't want to lose that." 

Straka said 65% to 70% of Penrod's business comes from the VA. 

Rae said he's ready to face the challenges in the HME industry. 

"We can navigate those waters," he said. "One way or another, people are still going to have medical needs. Somehow we're going to figure out a way to make it happen for them."