Ride-Away celebrates 'different mindset'

Friday, August 31, 2007

LONDONDERRY, N.H. - When customers walk into any of Ride-Away's 11 locations, the company's 40-plus sales consultants now greet them with polished case studies featuring customers who've maintained their independence despite their disabilities.
"The case studies show customers that having a disability isn't the end of the world," said Elizabeth Mace, marketing manager for Ride-Away, a provider of modified vehicles and adaptive equipment. "When (they become disabled), they're scared, but they need to know they can still go to work or care for their children. It shows them we can help them do that, whatever their needs are."
Ride-Away debuted the first in what will be a series of case studies in July. The case study--one page, double sided--features Janet Zeller, a customer of 21 years. In 1984, Zeller injured her right leg in an accident at work, and in 1986, she lost the use of the leg. As her disability progressed, Zeller relied on Ride-Away to modify several vehicles to include, at first, a left-foot gas pedal and, eventually, a lowered floor.
Today, Zeller works full time for the U.S. Forest Service and volunteers for several community organizations.
Ride-Away has two more case studies written but not published. In addition to customers, the company distributes case studies to new sales consultants to help them understand that "we're not your typical car dealership--we're so much more," Mace said.
Speaking to that difference, the case studies, when compared to more traditional ads, emphasize what Ride-Away can do for customers, said Mark Lore, owner and president of the company.
"I came up with the idea because I was sick and tired of looking at the same sterile ads that don't say anything besides, 'You get this equipment for X dollars,'" he said. "The reason I came to work in this business was to do something good for people."
Customers like Zeller say "it's a different mindset" at Ride-Away.
"What is different about Ride Way is that I'm not different," she states in the case study. "Here, a person in a wheelchair is ordinary. The emphasis is also on my ability. They will find a way to maximize that ability to compensate for my loss of function."