This month, we took time to chat with Liam O’Keeffe, owner, (above with RVNAhealth president & CEO, Theresa Santoro) and Marsi Beck, marketing/sales director at On The Mend Medical Supplies and Equipment. While theirs is serious business, Liam and Marsi bring an infusion of good energy, humor, and strength wherever they go. They pride themselves on their customer service, responsiveness, and on treating their customers as they would want their families to be treated. Which is why we get along so well. 😊
Q: Tell us about On The Mend.
A: We’re a medical supplies and equipment company. We are focused on helping seniors age in place safely with dignity and independence. We sell, rent, and install items to help our customers with medical issues and mobility needs, or in any way needed to help them to stay in their homes or retain independence as some of their physical abilities change. We have items for all ages —pre- and post-surgical items, orthopedic braces.
Our big driving force, big goal, reason for being …. is 5-star customer service. We aim to truly break the mold of a traditional medical supply store. We cherish our customers and we work for them. When someone walks in our store, we immediately drop whatever we are doing, walk over, welcome them in, offer coffee, water, anything they need. We train our staff and really drive the point home… whatever our customer is going through may be very stressful for them. This could be a bunion, or the loss of a loved one, a home modification.
Every single person deserves our undivided attention, compassion, patience.
We have retail stores and showrooms in Southbury, CT and Mt. Kisco, NY and, of course, our website.
Q: What brought you both to this business? Do you have medical backgrounds?
Liam: I was pursuing and contemplating opening my own business. I researched and learned that 10,000 people in the U.S. turn 65 every day. Average life expectancy hovers near 80 years old and 70% of all the wealth is with our seniors. Then my own personal experience led me to develop and create On The Mend (OTM).
I had needed an item for my mother, went into a medical supply store and realized the opportunity for business. I thought that of all people, our seniors need to be treated with the utmost respect, compassion and understanding — they’ve earned it. This helped me make my decision and OTM was born. I have a finance background and was confident in my ability to learn. I am happiest when I’m learning and make a point every day to continue my education surrounding DME (Durable Medical Equipment) and solutions.
Above: Liam O’Keeffe and Marsi Beck at the 2019 RVNAhealth Autumn Dinner
Marsi: I have done a lot of things professionally! Prior to OTM, I was a medical massage therapist..so, yes, a little medical background. I’ve always been passionate about health, nutrition, anatomy, kinesiology, pathology. My favorite job in the entire world … being a mother. So… OTM is a natural! I get to help people going through some kind of medical dysfunction whether it be aging in place, recovering from an accident or preparing for a loved one returning home from unexpected illness. I get to stay relevant with the medical aspect but use the nurturing, patient listening that is so necessary.
Q: How big is your team?
A: We have a fantastic team of 10-12 people which continues to grow as we do.
Q: Where do you serve?
A: We go where the needs are. We want to help; we want to provide. Thus far, we cover Connecticut, New York, and have worked in Rhode Island, Massachusetts… however, we do serve customers all over the world.
We have A LOT of “sandwich” generation customers. Meaning, young adult children who live in Europe, the West Coast — far from the CT and NY region — but their parents are here. We work hard to ensure that the adult child knows we are taking care of their parents’ needs.
Q: What is your ‘bestselling’ item?
A: Probably the reclining lift chairs. People love them, they are fantastic, helpful, and stylish.
Q: If you could create an On The Mend original product to help your customers with an issue or inconvenience that you see a lot, what would it be? [Or would you have to kill us if you tell us?]
A: I think it would be something — upgraded from current options — that helps someone in/out of the bathtub/shower safely. We’re working on it!
Q: How has COVID-19 impacted your business?
A: The coronavirus pandemic vastly increased the need for PPE – personal protective equipment – to prevent infection and transmission of the virus. As most people know, there was a real shortage at the outset and procuring PPE was a bit like the wild west. But we didn’t have a choice and neither did partners like RVNAhealth. To continue to serve and protect our customers, we needed PPE. So, we went into high gear and found masks, gloves, gowns, wipes, hand sanitizer, and all the equipment needed for us to continue to do our jobs. We procured PPE not only for On The Mend, but for many of our partners as well. It was the way we were best able to help during a profound crisis. In the early months of the pandemic, sourcing and collecting PPE was an around-the-clock job. We have been providing PPE to the public, shipping it all over the country. It’s really been quite an interesting journey and continues to be.
Q: What’s next for On The Mend?
A: On The Mend Drives non-emergency transportation; very soon, a third location; and continuing down the coast to Florida as well as the Midwest and West Coast! Manifest destiny!
Q: How did you first meet RVNAhealth?
A: We met at work, of course! Networking, and similar philosophies. RVNAhealth patients and clients often have needs for our products and services, and our customers often have needs for RVNAhealth’s services, so we are natural partners. We work well together because we entirely understand the immediacy and importance of our work to the health and comfort of our customers and patients. We trust each other, we all work very hard, and we always answer the phone when the other party calls. And we KNOW when we refer one another, we can be proud of the recommendation.
Q: How has the relationship evolved and what are the key elements of the On The Mend sponsorship with RVNAhealth?
A: Just really getting to know the whole team at RVNAhealth and understanding how we can work together to help our customers and patients. We like developing very good personal relationships and having a lot of fun social events – when the world is back in action! Sponsoring RVNAhealth’s Autumn Dinner and Spring Breakfast these past couple of years has been both fun and rewarding, to mingle with staff, meet so many other supporters of the agency, and learn firsthand how RVNAhealth changes so many lives.
Q: On The Mend. It’s a cute name.
A: It came from a friend of Liam’s. Who, upon hearing Liam’s original idea for a name, said, “You should do something upbeat like ‘On The Mend'”… ‘ IT STUCK! We love it, and we call our team “Menders.”