The two Bs: Barbecue and beer


Now that I have your attention...

I'm out of the office Monday through Wednesday next week for The VGM Group's 2010 Heartland Conference. I'm looking forward to the usual top-notch education (Check out "The Referral Source Speaks" with Mike Sperduti and yours truly at 11:15 on Tuesday!) and hospitality (the above mentioned two Bs: barbecue and beer).

But there's something else this year: a 1,500-square-foot, all-accessible home.

The “Heartland Home for Independent Living” features, among other things, zero-threshold entrances and a walk-in tub. It's a collaboration between Accessible Home Improvement of America, a division of The VGM Group; Roof Development, which is owned by former Waterloo mayor John Rooff; and All American Homes of Dyersville.

Next week, it will sit in a parking lot across from the Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center, where much of the conference will take place. (After the conference, Rooff will move the home to a foundation.)

Apparently, the home is generating quite a bit of interest, not only from providers (I heard a few talking about it at Medtrade Spring) but also residents ("I’m getting calls from people who work downtown wanting to know if VGM is really building a house in a parking lot," someone from VGM told me).

Leave it to The VGM Group to kill two birds with one stone in such a dramatic fashion: The need to show providers how they can diversify into new markets like home modifications; and the need to show regular people that getting old or being disabled doesn't necessarily have to put you in the fast lane to a nursing home or a rehab facility.

See you in Waterloo!

Liz Beaulieu