Take Me Out to the Ball Game--Courtesy Mobility Warehouse
ATLANTA — Some 3.5 million listeners hear his radio spots during game day broadcasts. An average 30,000 attendees see his company's public service announcement on the big screen at Turner Field.
Darren Tarleton, president and CEO of Stockbridge, Ga.-based Mobility Warehouse, thinks that's a pretty good play for his sponsorship of wheelchair service during Atlanta Braves home games.
In fact, Tarleton said, "For the number of people we are reaching at every game, it's a lot cheaper than paying a marketing person's salary."
The wheelchair service is offered at no charge to attendees who request it, or stadium staffers can call a central wheelchair dispatch for people who show up on site and need assistance.
Patrons get picked up at the stadium location of their choice and taken to their seats in Staxi wheelchairs, which carry signage on each side with the Mobility Warehouse logo and website. The users are given a ticket on which they write the time they would like to leave, then a staffer returns to wheel the baseball fans back to a central pickup point. From there, they are given a golf cart ride to their vehicle.
"When those patrons leave, they are given a postcard with all of our company information on it. Every person who uses the service gets one of those cards," Tarleton said. "Depending on whether it's a day or a night game and who we're playing, there can be anywhere from four to 11 people just working with the wheelchairs."
Three hours before game time the company can set up a booth at the stadium to show its products, and can also use the Braves logo on its website, vans and shirts, etc.
This season's sponsorship is only one of the things Tarleton is trying out as he readies Mobility Warehouse for business in the changing HME environment. "When we first opened the doors [in 2002], we were probably just like many companies at 80 to 85 percent Medicare," he said. But over the past several years, the provider has made a concerted effort to move in a different direction.
"We have focused on other revenue streams," Tarleton said, among them cash sales and hospice. "Now we're down to 18 percent, and I'm projecting that next year Medicare will make up only 12 to 15 percent of our business."
That means even though the company, located about 20 miles south of Atlanta, will be affected by Round 2 of competitive bidding, "I don't care," Tarleton said. "I'll probably bid, but whatever happens won't kill us."