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Meet Your Merchant: Scooters keep owner on the go

BRIAN DUGGAN
bduggan@nevadaappeal.com
Jim Grant/Nevada AppealWayne Bachand is the owner of Nevada Seating & Mobility, Inc. located on Old Hot Springs Road.
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On a Tuesday morning, Wayne Bachand takes a seat in one of the motorized recliners his business offers, but he wasn’t planning on sitting for long.

Bachand, who owns Nevada Seating and Mobility, was about to take off for Silver Springs.

“We hit all of the rural areas, we’re not just someone who works in Carson,” Bachand said. “We go all the way to Tonopah.”

His custom wheelchair business started 13 years ago in Carson City and eventually started to offer motorized scooters and other mobility accessories. Since then, business has continued to grow for his two shops in the capital and Reno, which build and repair custom equipment.

Bachand, 55, an Army veteran, started his career in the wheelchair business in the 1980s in Colorado where he would help a medical supply company repair their equipment.

Eventually, a children’s hospital in Denver saw his work.

“So they hired me because I was a welder and fabricator and we just started building our own equipment,” he said.

In the back of his Carson City store, Bachand pulls out two small seats that were designed for children living with disabilities.

“We would build these custom seats that look like NASCAR seats so it slows down … the deformities if you build the seat correctly,” he said. “It ensures skin integrity … if you’re uncomfortable it can cause you medical problems.”

Bachand eventually moved to Carson City in 1993 and decided to open his own custom wheelchair business in 1997 after realizing there was a niche market for rural service.

“Nobody wanted to go to the outlying areas,” said Bachand, who added motorized wheelchairs and scooters in 1998.

“I started out by myself, I was doing custom work for all the companies around here and then I opened my own shop because I saw a need,” he said.

The business has grown over the years, including a contract with the Veterans Administration and an accreditation by the Joint Commiss-ion, which evaluates health care providers.

He has four employees in Carson City and two in Reno.

The scooters he offers range in price from a few hundred dollars to more than $20,000, and range in speed. The fastest a chair can go – officially, anyway – is 8.5 mph. Some high-end models even come with holders for golf clubs.

But the standard scooters are designed to get people around their house. Depending on a customer’s insurance and financial situation, Bachand’s business can offer financing plans.

Over the years, his business has attracted thousands of customers. He said the economy has slowed business down, but the demand is still strong.

“Medicare is an even playing field with no matter who you go to,” Bachand said. “If you work with a local person they’re going to take care of you because we live here … and we’re also willing to go out of town to do this.”