Packer Perspective: Working Closely with Industry Leaders
on November 12, 2020
Ability Products shares a vision with U.S. Rehab to provide continuous value delivered by a team who understands what you face. Ability Products has been specifically created to collaborate with individual small businesses, not compete against them.
Below is a brief history of the company:
In 1994, Mark Chelgren befriended a group of wheelchair users and this sparked a 25 year passion for him to invent and manufacture products designed to improve the comfort and mobility of wheelchairs. Soon after, Chelgren and his wife, Janet, founded Frog Legs, Inc. whose flagship product is a shock absorbing front caster fork. Chelgren quickly determined caster wheels in the market were inferior and astounded the wheelchair market by launching a new “soft roll” caster design that would be wider and would not have tread to interfere with the wheel’s ability to pivot. Frog Legs’ products have become the gold standard for wheelchairs throughout the world.
The saying “Imitation is the highest form of flattery” definitely played true and, after years of success, nearly every mediocre tire company in the world had a copycat version of the Frog Legs wheelset. While exhibiting at a European tradeshow, Mark and Janet noticed that Rolko, a German based company with an extensive variety of products, was the only wheelchair component manufacturer who had not cloned the soft roll concept. Recognizing that international marketing is an expensive and time-consuming proposition for both companies, Chelgren and Rolko’s CEO, Torsten Eikemeier, began discussing how they could merge their product lines and work together. In 2018, Frog Legs partnered with Rolko, agreeing to have Rolko represent their family of products throughout Europe. In 2019, efforts began to expand the relationship to utilize Chelgren’s companies as a framework to distribute Rolko products in North America. In January of 2020, Ability Products, Inc. was established as a formal entity dedicated to this effort.
The Ability Products vision is to establish themselves as the one-stop-shop of wheelchair parts, accessories, and product sourcing for dealers and wholesale suppliers within the durable medical equipment space. Ability Products will serve as the mechanism for supply chain, relationship development, and product education to promote the vast Rolko brand known for quality German engineering in North America. Their products are sourced from select global factories and distributed from a 22,000 square foot warehouse located in Bloomfield, Iowa.
Ability Products mission is to supply to DME, HME, and CRT dealers the best, most cost-effective:
- Repair & replacement parts
- End-user sccessories and product upgrades
- Custom and OEM parts
Chelgren’s companies have a long standing reputation for exceptional customer care and hands on collaboration with our partners in the field.
We asked dealers across the country what they needed and built Ability Products to address these pain points. Ability Products will partner with U.S. Rehab members to offer:
- A large selection of quality parts at a competitive price
- Quick delivery for high volume parts
- Sourcing for aftermarket options
- Product compatibility and installation knowledge base
- Tech support both on-line and live by phone and teleconference
- A trusted sales team that cares about their success
Our priority is to assist in servicing the ultimate customer; a person with a disability and their family. A strategic partnership with Ability Products will allow members to focus on growing these customer relationships and improving their business operations.
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