Occasionally, we like to profile different organizations who are making a difference in the aging-in-place market. One such company is Texas-based SCOOTER Store, Inc. As executive vice president of local channels for the Texas-based SCOOTER Store, Inc., Ricardo Flores-Clar helps people who are constrained by physical limitations.
“Our mission is to provide freedom and independence to people with limited mobility,” he says. “We provide power mobility for those people and essentially liberate them from those physical limitations and allow them to lead a more fulfilling life.”
One of the key strategies to the company’s success has been its commitment to this mission, according to Flores-Clar.
“We’ve been able to affect the lives of nearly a half million people by enabling them to live with more dignity, and to be free and independent from their mobility limitations,” he says. “This job has truly allowed me to live a purposeful life. I come here every day and interact with some of the most awesome, humble, and joyful people you can ever imagine.”
The company was founded in 1991 by Doug and Suzanna Harrison who were both in the petroleum business but spent a great deal of time apart from one another. He was an engineer and spent a lot of time at sea working in the Gulf oil rigs. They decided to start The SCOOTER Store so they could spend more time with each other. It grew little by little, then by leaps and bounds in the early 2000s. In 2008, it reached peak levels of historical performance in terms of sales.
“Our ownership is one who dares to take risks,” remarks Flores-Clar. “They are willing to take leaps of faith for what they believe is right and they created that same tone with the rest of the executive team. They know that we have the capability to come up with the solutions to any problems that may arise. The culture of the company is also one of open communications and a culture of celebration of each other’s successes and caring for each other.”
Although Flores-Clar has been with the company for 5 ½ years, he says it has faced some tremendous challenges, including price cuts from payer sources and many restrictions placed on the industry.
“We absorbed every possible challenge thrown our way,” he says. “That’s because the driving force is the commitment to the mission. It can be as simple as someone living in a senior community, who because of mobility limitations, doesn’t see anyone for three years. Now we can provide them with a power chair and they’re able to go to the dining hall and meet people who they can go to the chapel with or play cards together. Their whole mental outlook changes. We talk about physical limitations being overcome with our products and services, but it’s also mental. They experience greater joy and family life and more connectedness with other human beings. They can participate with their families and live with more dignity of being able to take care of themselves, where before they couldn’t do that.”
Flores-Clar notes that for every power chair that Medicare or private insurance approves (at a cost of about $4,000), it saves the Medicare system and private insurance about $15,000 in the period of two years in fall-related injuries and hospitalization.
“That’s a heck of a return,” he says.
Talking to Flores-Car, you can hear the sense of pride swell in his voice as he talks about his career. As a person who has found his calling in life, he offers three pieces of advice for other Hispanic business executives.
“First, be clear about what your natural gifts and talents are,” he says. “Every person is born with a set of gifts, something that you can do that is better than hundreds of people. Identify what your gifts and talents are and make a courageous commitment to develop those gifts into strengths, and then put them to the service of others. Understand what you are passionate about and be clear about your purpose in this world.”