2019 was a fantastic year for CareCo - it was our 10th year in business as CareCo and our most exciting yet, with five new showrooms opened, many new products launched, and many happy customers. We've also welcomed 80 new starters this year, doubling our staff, with new roles created in the showrooms and at our Brentwood head office. There have been some interesting developments in the mobility industry this year too and we have continued to keep ahead of the latest trends and innovate. So here are our highlights for 2019.
January - Maidstone Opens!
We started the year as we meant to go on with the first new mobility showroom of the year opening in Maidstone. Deputy Mayor Marion King cut the ribbon to officially open the store on 8th January. Maidstone was our 11th showroom to open and the second in Kent, which along with Canterbury allows us to fully serve the entire county. As with all our stores it is open 7 days a week and stocks some of the best mobility equipment on the market.
We also launched an exciting new lightweight, lithium-ion powered mobility scooter in January - the Lithilite (and the Lithilite Pro version) - now replaced by the Marathon). This little scooter may be lightweight but the powerful lithium battery can keep it running for 11 miles , and the Pro version has a 30Ah battery than can last for 26 miles.
Cheltenham Opened in March
On 1st March we opened our Cheltenham showroom, which was our biggest and best showroom yet. The official opening welcomed the Mayor of Tewkesbury Borough and Councillor Ruth Hatton the opening ceremony. Cheltenham is our first store in the West Country and we hope to follow with more soon.
New Riser Recliner and Scooters for Spring
In March we also launched some great new products. First was the Wiselift Enduralux riser recliner chair (discontinued) that includes heat and massage and comes in both leather and fabric.
Two great mobility scooters came to the market, our Li-Tech Air, and the excellent electric folding QS4. The Li-Tech Air is one of the lightest scooters on the market, and the QS4 is the fastest auto-folding scooter - 2 groundbreaking scooters in one month!
This month we also launched our Surewalk walking stick, which with its 4 prongs to help grip the ground and provide more support, has quickly become one of our most popular walking sticks of the year.
May - Leeds Opens and Sales Records Broken
May was a big month for CareCo. On 9th May our Leeds store opened, our 13th store. With the mobility scooter beginning, this was the perfect time to open our first store in the North of Britain. We also launched two great new products in the mobility aids market. The Tuni Prism is a fantastic little lightweight outdoor rollator that comes with a handy storage bag with a floral design.
The Lynx 4 is a budget lightweight aluminium wheelchair that is also easy to fold up and store away. May also saw CareCo hit a major business milestone early in the year, as we shipped our 100,000th product of the year this month. In the first 5 months of the year we shipped over 5,000 products a week, smashing all previous sales targets. We also launched a major website update, with a new homepage and revamped site navigation, which has helped our customers find products faster.
June - Milton Keynes Opens
We started summer with a new showroom opening in Milton Keynes on June 13th. Opening a store in Milton Keynes is proving to be a great decision for us and we have seen many happy customers come through the doors over the last six months. It is also so easy for customers to get to, being so near the M1.
In June we also learned that the government was changing blue badge rules for people with hidden disabilities, such as dementia. New rules mean that people with hidden disabilities can access blue badge parking permits in England.
Corvus Rapide & Fenix Launch for Summer
The Corvus Rapide is a class 3 mobility scooter for road and pavements, and the Fenix is compact, lightweight and our cheapest powerchair.
Both products are designed for outdoor use and allow users to regain some freedom. Visiting green spaces is fantastic for mental health, and both the Fenix and the Corvus Rapide are perfect for trips to the park as well as getting around town.
July - Vega RS8 and a new Rollator
In July we launched another new mobility scooter, the Vega RS8, a lighter class 3 scooter that brings a more modern design to the classic model.
Although a class 3 road model it has proven to be a very popular choice for those wanting a good scooter for pavements and parks, and can handle long grass without a problem.
To further support people wanting to get outside this summer we launched the new Secco 4 rollator, which comes in a stylish purple (a colour choice that is growing in popularity) and at just 6.6kg is an easy to transport walking aid.
October - CareCo Glasgow Opens & Rehacare Research Trip
In October we opened our 15th showroom and our very first in Glasgow, Scotland! The Glasgow showroom features a mobility test track to allow customers to test mobility scooters, powerchair and wheelchairs over a series of ramps and corners, along with gravel and artificial grass to navigate across - it's a great way to get a feel for a mobility scooter before buying.
We also hit another business milestone this month when we shipped our 250,000th item of the year. The combination of new stores, an updated and improved website, and larger sales team, saw our sales figures smash all previous records.
After our record breaking summer we headed to Rehacare in October to discover the latest mobility products to hit the European market.
This year Rehacare was held in Dusseldorf, Germany, and had over 750 exhibitors from around the world. We spent several days talking with manufacturers to learn about the latest technological innovations, and decide which products we'll be bringing to the UK market in 2020.
We have some great new products coming next year, so keep your eyes peeled on our new stock page!
AMP Awards - Dealer of the Year Finalist
CareCo was a finalist for the AMP Dealer of the Year award and Paula Sparling and Jane Bunting attended the awards ceremony in London, hosted by Access and Mobility Professional. It was a great opportunity to discuss the UK mobility market with other retailers. Maybe next year we can win the top prize!
ITV3 Sponsorship and Adverts
In July we launched our sponsorship deal with ITV3 Afternoons, with CareCo sponsoring some classic shows such as Heartbeat, Classic Emmerdale, Classic Coronation Street, Agatha Christie’s Poirot, and A Touch Of Frost.
In October we headed to Scarborough to film our new ITV3 advert, which will be shown across the UK early in 2020. You can see some footage of the shoot over on our Facebook page.
2019 has been an amazing year for CareCo. We have almost doubled our staff and added 5 new showrooms, expanding into Scotland. We already have 5 new mobility shops planned for 2020, with the new Warrington showroom opening on January 9th, with Preston, Newcastle, and Brighton stores already planned.
We are also expanding our Brentwood head office, with new modern office space and more storage too. 2020 is going to be a huge year for CareCo as we reach 20 showrooms and reach more customers across the UK.