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Harmar CEO talks market’s undercurrents

Harmar CEO talks market’s undercurrents

Steve DawsonSARASOTA, Fla. – Harmar CEO Steve Dawson says “it feels really early” for the mobility and access market, with lots of runway for growth. 

That’s a big reason why the company recently invested in a new facility that’s 60% bigger. 

“We’re bullish on the market,” he said. 

Dawson spoke to HME News about the market’s undercurrents and more. 

HME News: Why was the expansion needed? 

Steve Dawson: We’ve had some strong growth the last couple of years and we just grew out of our existing facility in every aspect – office space, manufacturing space. 

HME: What’s behind that growth? 

Dawson: The demographics are powerful. Our target user is an aging-in-place senior. People talk about baby boomers, but I think the real opportunity is with people in their 80s and above. That’s one piece. 

HME: The other? 

Dawson: It’s a market that’s largely fragmented at all levels – manufacturer, dealer. There are not a lot of national players in this space. It feels really early – there’s so much opportunity to develop your dealer network, add new products and consolidate. 

HME: I imagine the pandemic has helped to grow the market, as well. 

Dawson: It’s always been a strong market, but the pandemic has reinvigorated the desire of people to stay in their homes and avoid nursing homes where possible. We’ve also had new products come online that have improved our market share and impacted our business, as well. 

HME: Two challenges facing manufactures right now are labor shortages and supply chain challenges. How have those challenges impacted Harmar? 

Dawson: We could have 10% more staff right now if we could find people to hire. We’re waiting on products like everyone else – with our containers waiting in ports for three weeks – but staffing is our biggest challenge. We’re trying to do creative things, like running ads in Spanish. We’ve also had a lot of people out with COVID, but everyone has recovered. We have a strong culture and our staff has really stepped up to keep the business moving. 

HME: Have you had to increase prices due to increased supply chain costs? 

Dawson: Our freight costs are four times what they used to be and our metal costs are three times. We’ve had to implement several price increases in the past 12-18 months, but thankfully, our dealers understand. 

HME: Harmar has been owned by Cortec Group, a private equity firm, for almost 10 years. That’s a long time for PE ownership. 

Dawson: Yes, it’s been almost 10 years. They’re a great partner.


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