18 June 2020 – Life Unlimited Charitable Trust has announced it is reviewing its Mobility Centre stores in Gisborne and Rotorua.
Chief executive Megan Thomas said the trust’s other stores in Hamilton, Tauranga, Hastings and Lower Hutt were unaffected by the review. Neither was its Online Store which was an essential business during the COVID-19 lockdown.
“Our stores in Gisborne and Rotorua are not viable as “bricks and mortar” presences in their communities.
“We were already looking at these stores prior to the COVID-19 lockdown because despite a lot of effort by our staff over many years, they were no longer viable operations,” said Ms Thomas.
“Since we opened our stores in Gisborne and Rotorua, the market has changed significantly. Other retailers have moved into the market.
“Also, online sales have grown significantly and offer an alternative way for our customer base to reach us. COVID-19 introduced more customers to online shopping. Where once they preferred that face-to-face way of shopping, they quickly adapted to online while accessing things like our Live Chat, email or phone calls.
“We do not want to leave Gisborne and Rotorua communities without good options to access and get good advice on equipment and aids to support their everyday living independence. We believe we can continue to provide access to the right equipment and aids by operating in a new way.”
Life Unlimited is currently exploring three options to maintain a local presence in Gisborne and Rotorua:
- Looking for a complementary business in the community which may be interested in a co-sharing arrangement either in our existing premises or elsewhere
- Working with an existing business who would sell our products on a consignment basis
- Introduce van sales into the community.
“Many of our customers in Gisborne and Rotorua ask us to come to them so by operating a mobile van service, we’d be able to take products like mobility scooters, walkers, wheelchairs, incontinent products and furniture such as convalescence beds and lift chairs into rest homes, retirement villages and people’s houses.
“If you have ideas on who we might partner with or best serve the community moving forward then please do get in contact.”
Life Unlimited continues to run a disability information and advice service in Rotorua and Gisborne, along with Ministry of Health funded Hearing Therapy and Needs Assessment Service Coordination (NASC) in Tairāwhiti.
“Our organisation’s strength for more than 40 years is in offering health and disability information, advice and equipment to enable people to live the life they choose. We need to continually review and adapt our business model to ensure we can continue to serve our clients,” said Ms Thomas.
- As an existing Mobility Centre customer, we want to hear from you. Contact chief executive Megan Thomas with your feedback.
- Read Rotorua Key Messages
Mary Anne Gill
Life Unlimited Charitable Trust
021 705 213