ARB MobilityAfter 14 years working in the mobility industry, Alex Boon decided to take the leap and open his own showroom, ARB Mobility, in Taunton nine months ago. THIIS catches up with Alex to find out more about his new business in the South West…

ARB Mobility is a mobility shop and healthcare equipment retailer that provides a wide range of equipment including power chairs, manual and powered wheelchairs, mobility scooters, power add-ons and trikes for children to adults with disabilities, as well as offering servicing and repairs.

Alex Boon, the owner and director of ARB Mobility, opened the showroom in Ruishton, a small village on the outskirts of Taunton, Somerset, nine months ago. He had previously worked for a large mobility company in the area, starting out as delivery driver before going on to sell equipment, working his way up to becoming prescriptive mobility product specialist.

Finding the perfect premises

After 14 years’ experience in the industry, Alex decided to take the leap and open his own business. Says Alex: “Having started out as a delivery driver all those years ago at the previous company I worked for I never imagined I would be running my own business within the sector.”

Advertisement | Continue story below

ARB Mobility is family run, with Alex working alongside his partner Hayley, who had previously worked as a carer for 10 years.

Discussing how he came about the premises for his showroom Alex comments: “We looked at a few places in the town centre but although they were good locations for passing trade they didn’t have the space we needed.

“We looked for three months before coming across our current premises. It had previously been a car garage so needed a lot of work before we could start trading. We fitted new double doors for easier accessibility and built a workshop.”

It’s a great location, says Alex, as there is plenty of parking and room for customers to sample products which you might not necessarily get in a town centre location. It’s also handily just off the motorway.

ARB Mobility
Alex Boon, the owner and director of ARB Mobility

ARB Mobility has had a great response from customers with a large multimedia ad campaign and the local paper helping to get the word out, as well as great reviews and word of mouth from happy clients.

Exceptional customer service

As ARB Mobility’s director and product specialist, Alex prides himself on supplying high-specification products alongside exceptional customer service and great value.

He says: “My focus is ensuring a client is matched to the right product and I have teamed up with the industry’s best manufacturers to ensure I can offer a range of solutions in order to get the right fit.”

As is his background, Alex specialises in prescriptive products, working closely with different manufacturers such as Sunrise Medical, Ki Mobility, Permobil and Quantum Rehab, regularly partaking in training on their products to ensure he can prescribe their products confidently.

He comments: “I have handpicked products for the shop that I feel are the best for functionality as well as being aesthetically pleasing. We don’t stock anything that is poor quality as that would mean unhappy clients.” ARB Mobility wheelchairs

The showroom itself is light, bright and spacious inside. Alex explains: “We particularly wanted to steer away from the typical drab, cluttered mobility store interior and make the store welcoming to clients all ages.”

It was also very important to Alex to not only sell high-quality products but also to effectively maintain, repair and carry out any servicing required for these as well. “Building relationships and having somewhere friendly and local to go is so important to many of our customers,” he says.

Alex is currently carrying out servicing and repairs himself, as he has done in the past, but he says that he will be looking at employing an engineer in the future as things get busier.

Tired of the busy, target-focused mentality of working for a large retailer, Alex opened ARB Mobility, he says, because he wanted to “do things better”. He adds: “I can now spend more time with clients and do things in a way which puts the clients first, which is how it should be.”

ARB Mobility vanInnovative mobility products

Alex is looking forward to showcasing some of the newer mobility products to come onto the market this summer. One of the products he has had a lot of interest in, and which he expects to do well, is the Q50R Carbon, a lightweight folding powerchair by Sunrise Medical.

He comments: “I think it will be a game-changer for people wanting to get out and explore further afield this summer as its lightweight to be easily popped in the boot and its batteries are IATA-approved for air travel, perfect for summer holidays!”

The new smart powerchairs are fantastic, such as the Permobil F5 and the Sunrise Q300, as well, he says. “Their ability to collect information on how a client drives and interacts with their environment will be a great help for both therapists and prescribers, as well as helping to increase a client’s confidence and in turn independence.

“Anything that can help a client feel more confident and self-sufficient has got to be a good thing.”
ARB Mobility also stocks Theraplay trikes for children and young adults with disabilities. Theraplay is a family run company based in Scotland, explains Alex. “We share their belief that everyone should get the opportunity to enjoy the thrill of cycling. It’s a pleasure to be exclusive dealers for the south-west of England, they are a fantastic company.” ARB Mobility riser recliners

Assessments for the Theraplay trikes take place either at the showroom or the child’s home or school. Alex says that he particularly enjoys handover day.

“The excitement and joy on the children’s faces when they receive their trike is amazing, it’s really rewarding. We’ve had a positive response so far and think they will continue to sell well, especially with everyone beginning to think about getting out and about enjoying the sunnier weather.”

Aside from trikes, Alex is also exploring other product categories and has recently started working with two fantastic companies, Lavoro and Mercado Medic.

Lavaro, he says, make Swedish engineered, Scandinavian-style height-adjustable office tables, while Mercado Medic provide manual and powered adjustable office chairs. “We are excited to be able to offer innovative solutions to help people live independently,” says Alex.

Embracing e-commerce

ARB Mobility also showcases mobility stocks on its website, which he says is a work in progress still, with more products being added to it all the time.

With the rise of ecommerce affecting all retail, including the mobility sector, it was inevitable that his business would need to embrace this aspect, Alex says, although he states that his focus is “more face-to-face.”

As for how his business competes with online firms offering cheaper prices, he insists that providing a quality offering will always win out. “It was a difficult decision to start a new venture, but I believe if we focus on the right products, keep our prices fair and form trusted relationships with our clients, with great aftercare we can compete.
“You can’t get a person-centred approach from a box arriving in the post, can you?”

As a new business ARB Mobility has had a positive start with some great feedback and support from clients and suppliers, Alex enthuses, and he is looking forward to continuing this growth into the future.

“As were only new, we don’t have any plans to open any further showrooms, we’d like to really establish ourselves where we are first. But who knows where the future will lead…”

ARB Mobility scooters

Join the 3,750+ mobility professionals who stay informed with THIIS' twice-weekly industry updates.
We respect your privacy McIvorNewsroomRetailer SpotlightTrade FocusUncategorisedaccess,ARB Mobility,Mobility,powerchairs,retailer spotlight,wheelchairsAfter 14 years working in the mobility industry, Alex Boon decided to take the leap and open his own showroom, ARB Mobility, in Taunton nine months ago. THIIS catches up with Alex to find out more about his new business in the South West… ARB Mobility is a mobility shop...News, views & products for mobility, access and independent living professionals