Loop Medical is under new management this year, but it is still very much in business at its longtime 62 Sixth Ave. location in downtown St. Albans.
Paula Vineyard took over the ownership and operations in February. The owner of Elana Health, an oxygen and home medical business in Dunbar, Vineyard said she discussed purchasing Loop Medical with Bill McFarland, who started the company in 1981 in St. Albans, a few months ago.
A respiratory therapist who grew up in St. Albans, Vineyard worked for McFarland several years ago. “Bill reached out to me, because he was ready to retire and wanted to see if I had any interest in buying the business,” she said. “We started a dialogue about it, to see if would be something that would be suitable for him and me.”
After doing some due diligence about the opportunity, Vineyard said, “I was interested in keeping the existing St. Albans location, because I was from here and felt a tie to the community.”
McFarland sold the adjacent compounding pharmacy at Loop Plaza to Kanawha City-based Trivillian’s. “The pharmacy is no longer in the building, but it’s all home medical equipment: wheelchairs, oxygen, mastectomy products, CPAP and BiPAP,” Vineyard said.
Loop Medical also provides fitting services, something she hadn’t had available at Elana Health.
“The significant difference here over what I do in Dunbar,” Vineyard said, “is the whole department of fitting services. It’s half the volume of the business itself. It gets into all of the mastectomy products, the diabetic shoes, back braces, compression stockings — they all fall under that fitting category. I didn’t do that before, and there’s not a lot of companies in Charleston that do that. ... That’s been the biggest learning curve for me, learning about those products.
“The last few months have been a transition for everybody on the staff,” Vineyard said, noting that about 95% of the staff of 12 have stayed with Loop Medical following the ownership change.
“That part has been really good. The staff had experience and were familiar with durable medical equipment. Scott Cantrell is our branch manager; he’s from St. Albans. Most of the people who work here actually live in St. Albans.
“We had to get accreditation, had a Medicare site visit, had to be able to bill insurance companies.
“All in all, I think it’s been a pretty smooth transition,” she said. “I think people in the community are glad we’re still here. When I went over to City Hall to get my business license, they had the mayor come out and meet me and shake my hand. He thanked me for staying in town. You hear about so many businesses closing that people are glad to hear about the ones that are sticking around.”
Vineyard said the demand should remain steady for Loop Medical’s services.
“We’re just in a service that continues to be needed. It’s not going away any time soon, because of the Baby Boomers and the aging population. We have a lot of elderly people in the community here and they need a lot of these services.”
Patients, physicians and referrals can contact Loop Medical at 304-722-2233 or via the website, www.loop-med.com
Operating hours are 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.