Ableworld’s Specialist Division branches out with new in-house OT
Ableworld’s Specialist Division, which provides bespoke mobility equipment for adults and children, has recently gained its own, dedicated occupational therapist, who will be available to liaise with local professionals.
In 2007, Ableworld set up the company’s Specialist Division, with goals to build up contacts, raise awareness and develop the necessary trust and reputation for professionals to refer cases to Ableworld. Currently, Ableworld’s Specialist Division operates from two centres: one in Hanley, Staffordshire, and a newer, larger premises in Crewe, Cheshire, covering the Cheshire, North Wales, Wirral and Shropshire areas.
All highly-trained staff within the Specialist Division provide a one-to-one service either in-store or in the customer’s own home and handle everything from assessment to handover, giving a personal service, training and advice.
Barry Person, Director at Ableworld, announced the appointment of Ableworld’s new, dedicated occupational therapist to the Division.
He highlighted how the addition of an in-house OT will help the retailer embrace new areas of the market.
“The appointment of our own local Occupational Therapist is a key part of our strategy to ensure our customer service remains marketing leading and provides a vital link between the professional medical network and the retail sector,” he commented.
Entering into a joint venture with Ableworld in 2014, North West financier Barry joined the mobility retailer with plans to expand its presence and portfolio of outlets in the region. In just under five years since the agreement was signed, Barry has launched five stores in the North West – the last store was in Southport in December 2017.
As well as the new in-house OT, Ableworld also supports franchisees and joint venture stores who decide to take on specialist training.
One such franchisee was Donna Wilson from Ableworld’s Lincoln and Newark stores, who has undertaken over two years of training with the Sunrise Medical STEPS training programme. The courses involved seating and positioning, specialist powerchair assessment and prescription and active user wheelchair assessment and prescription. She is also looking to work with other suppliers.
Speaking with THIIS in November 2018’s Retailer Spotlight, Mike Williams, Manging Director of Ableworld, emphasised how the company had stayed true to its brand, flying in the face of retail trends championed by consultants and experts.
“Ableworld do not try to be a ‘boutique’,” he explained.
“We’re not ashamed to trade in a way our customers have grown up with. Our ego doesn’t stretch to re-inventing the wheel just to keep consultants in employment.
“Often people ask what style of store we’d compare ourselves to in the food trade – I’d say Tesco or Asda – quality branded products at value for money prices.”