Rotech advertisement takes a swipe at competitors

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

MCCONNELLSBURG, Pa. - It doesn’t look like Rotech’s plan to close its location here late last summer and consolidate operations 30 miles away in Chambersburg worked out as intended. No sooner did that happen than two new competitors moved in and begin targeting the national’s referral sources.

In what one industry watcher called a “knee jerk reaction,” Rotech responded by taking a swipe at the two new companies in a Sept. 30 advertisement that proclaimed: “While these new companies now employ former [Rotech] employees, and they may appear as a hometown provider, the bottom line is, just like (Rotech), the decision makers of the new companies are located elsewhere.”

Dick’s Homecare and Care Plus Oxygen, which both operate multiple locations in Pennsylvania, set up shop in McConnellsburg this fall after Rotech left town.

“The folks in this area were a little upset that [Rotech] closed its doors abruptly one Friday afternoon,” said Jim Young, Dick’s general manager. “We saw it as a golden opportunity. We wanted to come in while it was still fresh on everybody’s minds, and say, ‘Hey, you are still going to have a homecare company in the area.’”

Rotech’s McConnellsburg location did business under the name CPO2.

Not only did Dick’s open a location in McConnellsburg, it did so in the site Rotech vacated. In another odd twist, Care Plus Oxygen’s co-owner Bob Lauver was president and co-owner of CPO2 before Rotech acquired it about six years ago. In opening his location in McConnellsburg, Lauver hired the former manager of CPO2, who Rotech laid off and who Lauver employed when he co-owned the company.

“She has a good reputation and knows everybody, and I think I can make a dent in [McConnellsburg] even with Dick’s right down the block,” Lauver said.

Dick’s also hired two laid off CPO2 employees to staff its McConnellsburg location.

“Some of the folks who were customers of CPO2 felt they wanted to go with us because they knew the CPO2 employees that Dick’s hired,” Young said. “I’m sure Rotech felt they could consolidate and still provide service. I’m sure they can, but referral sources like a local presence and that is one of the things Dick’s markets.”

In its advertisement, Rotech said the retail site in McCornellsburg had “outlived its usefulness” and went on to say the company would continue to provide “quality” respiratory and DME services from its Chambersburg store.

“Please allow CPO2 to continue to be your company,” the letter stated.