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REQ puts in ‘hard work’ to maintain independence

REQ puts in ‘hard work’ to maintain independence ‘We’ve wanted it to succeed and grow – probably more than we’ve even had the skills or the power to do’

MANCHESTER, N.H. – Rehabilitation Equipment Associates (REQ) marked 40 years in business in 2023 – a milestone that celebrated its humble beginnings in the garage of Jan and Karl Soderquist and its growth to 50 employees and three locations in New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts.  

“From their house to where we are now is amazing,” said Scott Soderquist, Jan and Karl Soderquist’s son and the company’s project manager. “All I can say is my parents have great stamina and faith in people and in their God that keeps them going even into their 80s. We’ve been extremely blessed with opportunities.”  

Scott Soderquist remembers that before his mom started REQ, she had worked at nursing homes and rehab facilities and was studying to be a physical therapy assistant, but she knew little about running a business. 

Still, for Jan Soderquist, where there was a will – and a desire to help the community – there was a way, Scott Soderquist says.  

“Back then, to adapt a wheelchair to have power tilt and space, you had to merge a lot of different components together,” he said. “There was a lot of creativity involved.” 

REQ has done most of its growing since 2010, opening locations in Maine and Massachusetts and, led by daughter Kim D’Amato, diversifying into new product lines. Karl Soderquist also launched HubScrub, an automated machine that cleans equipment and is sold all around the world. 

“The secret to the company’s success over the past 40 years? Some of it has been a lot of hard work,” Scott Soderquist said. “We’ve wanted it to succeed and grow – probably more than we’ve even had the skills or the power to do.” 

But Jan and Karl Soderquist are getting older, and the business is getting harder, especially when it comes to documentation requirements and reimbursement rates, and so in October, REQ added Gary Robbins, formerly of Keene Medical Products, as its operations manager to help usher the company into its next era. 

“Gary is just another way we are changing, as we all saw that if nothing changes nothing will change,” Scott Soderquist said. “So having an outsider helps. Plus, all the staff that handle repairs, supplies, sales support, home modifications and walk-in sales. We are continuing to expand because we believe customers need choices and manufacturers want independents to survive and prosper.”


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