PARKER, CO – Yet another mid-life switch to HME caretailing is paying off. Almost three years ago, Bill and Doreen Leahy made a bold decision to open an all-cash HME retailing business in Parker, Colorado, a 50,000-population city in the northern part of the Rocky Mountain state.
The brand new business, called Independently Yours, sells “pretty much everything” in the HME universe—power mobility, lift chairs, bath safety equipment, walkers, compression, orthopedic supports, and much more. Nothing has ever been reimbursed by Medicare or insurance.
“We also rent almost everything, except bathroom items,” says 48-year-old Bill Leahy, who had no prior experience in the medical industry prior to starting the business from scratch. “My wife and I are not in the position of comparing to what the HME business used to be. We are very customer-service-oriented people, and we had previous business experience, but not in retail.
“We wanted something where we could have close contact with customers,” continues Leahy. “A few years before we opened, my wife got the idea for a medical supply store set up like a retail showroom, where we could bring our level of service. We knew there was a need from dealing with family members.”
Well before the caretailing term was coined, the Leahys had hit upon the concept which so far has led to a business that “is doing well and continuing to grow.” The Leahys have three children, one of whom (a son) works with them at the business.
The commitment is large, and Bill Leahy admits that it leaves little time for hobbies, at least at this point. Living on a small ranch with two horses, two miniature donkeys, chickens, and dogs, means a lot of outdoor work when the Leahys come home. And occasionally, the farm animals become part of the DME business.
“We have actually brought them [miniature donkeys] a couple of times to assisted living facility open houses where residents could pet them,” explains Leahy. “Miniature donkeys are really affectionate animals.”