Back in business

‘As a cash product that can also be rented, it’s a good way for companies to generate revenue, which kind of makes it the Holy Grail’
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Monday, June 26, 2017

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – How do you go from working in a pumpkin patch to selling a “re-invented” crutch?

If you’re Gerald Sloan, vice president of business development for Kansas City, Mo.-based Mobility Designed, you do it by coming out of a somewhat reluctant retirement and getting back into a business you loved for many years.

Three years ago, Sloan sold his mobility devicecompany, Progressive Medical Equipment,and retired to his 40-acre horse farm outside Kansas City, where he committed to helping his wife build a pumpkin business.

“Hard labor never hurt anyone,” he said recently, but he admitted that between weathering the early days of competitive bidding and his efforts in Washington, D.C., on behalf of the HMEindustry, he was “emotionally exhausted.”

But then he was approached by Max and Lilana Younger, Mobility Designed’s co-founders, and he basically couldn’t resist.Their re-designed crutch was “unlike anything I’d ever seen,” Sloan said.

“It removes the pressure points from the arm and wrists,” he said. “I thought, ‘This is a product that could really help a lot of people, and it will also help my dealer friends.’”

What made the opportunity even more compelling, Sloan explained, was the role he could play in the aspiring company. Max and Liliana came with a background in industrial design, and they’d already enlisted the help of professionals with serious regulatory compliance and marketing experience. What they didn’t have was someone who knew the HME industry. 

It was enough to pull Sloan off the pumpkin patch and onto the road introducing the new product to his former colleagues. One of the attributes that most attracted him to the product, he says, is the opportunity providers have to rent the crutch, in addition to selling it.

“As a cash product that can also be rented, it’s a good way for companies to generate revenue,” he said. “Which kind of makes it the Holy Grail.”