Shaw & Ott has a leg up in rural Ohio

 - 
Wednesday, November 30, 2005

MANSFIELD, Ohio - Providers are reacting to competitive bidding and other changes by cutting back, re-aligning or even closing branches, but Ary Van Harlingen is doing just the opposite.
The president of Shaw & Ott Medical Supplies opened new branches in Shelby and Galion--both in Ohio--in July and November, respectively. As a result of the expansion, the provider's staff has grown to 28, with five full-time respiratory therapists.
"Everyone else is cutting back, and what's crazy Ary doing?" Van Harlingen asked.
The new branches, both within 20 minutes of the company's home base in Mansfield, are positioned in 3,000-square-foot storefronts. They feature a full line of DME, but the company's bread-and-butter remains respiratory, which makes up 40% of its business mix.
The way Van Harlingen sees it, with the expansions, Shaw & Ott has the small communities located within a 50-mile radius of Mansfield covered. While many fear competitive bidding could spell doom for small providers, he believes having a strong presence in these rural areas will give him a leg up.
"We're now strategically located in rural areas that aren't going to have high profiles with the big boys," Van Harlingen said.
There were other reasons for the expansions. The company's trucks are in the Shelby and Galion areas every day delivering oxygen, so Van Harlingen hopes the expansions will cut down on delivery costs. Also, more visibility in the community is "just good business," he said.
"We're getting a surprising amount of foot traffic [in Shelby]," Van Harlingen said. "Our industry operates on telephones, but hometown people like to deal with hometown providers." hme
MANSFIELD, Ohio - Providers are reacting to competitive bidding and other changes by cutting back, re-aligning or even closing branches, but Ary Van Harlingen is doing just the opposite.
The president of Shaw & Ott Medical Supplies opened new branches in Shelby and Galion--both in Ohio--in July and November, respectively. As a result of the expansion, the provider's staff has grown to 28, with five full-time respiratory therapists.
"Everyone else is cutting back, and what's crazy Ary doing?" Van Harlingen asked.
The new branches, both within 20 minutes of the company's home base in Mansfield, are positioned in 3,000-square-foot storefronts. They feature a full line of DME, but the company's bread-and-butter remains respiratory, which makes up 40% of its business mix.
The way Van Harlingen sees it, with the expansions, Shaw & Ott has the small communities located within a 50-mile radius of Mansfield covered. While many fear competitive bidding could spell doom for small providers, he believes having a strong presence in these rural areas will give him a leg up.
"We're now strategically located in rural areas that aren't going to have high profiles with the big boys," Van Harlingen said.
There were other reasons for the expansions. The company's trucks are in the Shelby and Galion areas every day delivering oxygen, so Van Harlingen hopes the expansions will cut down on delivery costs. Also, more visibility in the community is "just good business," he said.
"We're getting a surprising amount of foot traffic [in Shelby]," Van Harlingen said. "Our industry operates on telephones, but hometown people like to deal with hometown providers."

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