Scooter Store digs in, rolls out O2 program

Sunday, February 29, 2004

NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas - The Scooter Store, the nation’s leading provider of power mobility, in January leaped into the oxygen market by setting up an in-home respiratory pilot project in the San Antonio/Austin area.
Dan Gibbens

The company calls the move a response to patient requests for the expanded service and that it is in no way a reaction to shrinking reimbursements for K0011s, said Dan Gibbens, the Scooter Store’s vice president of strategic analysis.

“When you look at our customer base, a significant portion of them are on in-home respiratory,” Gibbens said. “So, when you start to think about other products and services it was the size of the market that was attractive.”

If the pilot proves successful, Gibbens said the primary focus would be reaching out to the Scooter Store’s existing power mobility customers either through mailings, direct contact at delivery or phone calls.

The Scooter Store used Invacare’s Venture Homefill 2 system in the pilot project, although no exclusive vendor contacts have been signed.

“We already had a relationship with Invacare because of our power chair business,” said Gibbens. “We are working really close, hand in hand, with the guys at Invacare on this.”

The Scooter Store found success in the power chair business due in part to extensive, nationwide marketing and advertising campaigns. A similar strategy on the oxygen side could make the company a quick contender in the oxygen market, a serious concern for many providers.

“We’d like to create a similar success in the in-home respiratory services business that we currently have done in our power mobility business,” said Gibbens.

For now, however, the company will keep the venture small, having made no final decisions about its future in respiratory or even about the duration of the pilot. No conclusion about the business’s name has come either.

“The [Scooter Store] name itself is a little bit narrow from a marketing standpoint, so we will probably address that issue specifically down the road, but for now we have not finalized any plans,” said Gibbens.