Conyers, GA – In 2006, after celebrating 30 years of being a mobility equipment dealer, R & R Mobility celebrated its most successful and profitable year. They were primed and ready to take on the Atlanta market by storm when a trifecta hit them in 2007-2008; a devastating fire, the death of the founder/owner and the worst economic downturn in decades. By staying driven and focused, they not only overcame those setbacks, but today are stronger, more motivated and determined to deliver the best customer service experience to the disabled community in Atlanta.
In 1984, Randy Wilson purchased R & R Mobility from his Uncle and took the company from a backyard garage to a storefront location. Throughout the 80’s and 90’s, R & R Van Lift serviced the disabled community in Atlanta through positive word of mouth. They competed particularly well in full-size van modifications and lift installations. In 1989, Randy brought his son Rodney into the business to focus on the service side of the business. Rodney managed the shop and ensured that customer’s lifts were installed safely and in a timely manner. In 1996, Randy’s daughter Vonda joined the R & R team to assist customers in the sales transaction; chiefly managing the extensive paperwork requirements. With R & R’s focus on the customer and hiring outstanding technicians, they experienced steady growth.
In 2003, Rodney took over sales and recognized the change that was taking place in the industry; consumers were shifting their preference from full-size vans with lifts to lowered floor minivan. According to Rodney, customers wanted to touch and feel the popular wheelchair minivans, so R & R Mobility started stocking finished goods inventory. “We started to stock more vans with more variety and we experienced more sales because of it,” said Rodney Wilson, General Manager of R & R Mobility. “Our business model is beginning to look a lot like the automotive retail model.”
2006 was a breakthrough year for R & R; by overachieving goals and reaching 400% growth. Their reputation in the Atlanta market was top notch. They decided to build on their core competencies and open a second location in Buford. “We are all about the customer,” says Vonda Hutchins, Title Manager for R & R. “There are many companies who sell the same product and we go the extra mile for the customer. We focus on education before the sale and support and service after the sale. We have a great team here at R & R and we all pull together to do what is right for the customer.”
The R & R team was taking the market by storm in 2007. Unfortunately, in October, their facility in Conyers caught fire and decimated most of the office area requiring over $500,000 in repairs. Coupled with the fire, Randy was diagnosed with cancer and the diagnosis was bleak.
Fires devastate most businesses, however, R & R isn’t like most businesses. They took the fire and turned it into a positive because they knew you can replace a building but you can’t replace a human life. “No one was hurt and that’s what was most important,” said Rodney Wilson. “We still had the best staff. We still had the best customers. We are survivors.” So they did what winners do and worked long hours in cramped spaces for six months while their facility was being rebuilt. Customers received the same outstanding customer service they had grown accustomed to at R & R Mobility.
The recession of 2008 was not foreseen by anyone, including R & R. The bottom seemed to have fallen out of the mobility industry and wheelchair vans were no longer top of mind. Over the next year, R & R had some decisions to make, as did all businesses during this recession. In 2009, they made a decision to close the second location in Buford and concentrate on their Conyers location, which was fully remodeled and void of any sign of a fire. Tragically, in 2009 Randy lost his battle with cancer and left R & R and the mobility industry with a lasting legacy.
Today, with all the misfortune and heartbreak behind them, R & R is focusing on the upcoming year; and it is bright! “The 2011 Honda Odyssey with a VMI conversion will be released in early 2011,” said Wilson. “We expect this product to drive sales to all new heights. Our past success with VMI’s Honda Odyssey gives us maximum allocation and we see no ceiling in the potential.” Their perfect storm of problems is being replaced by a perfect storm of opportunity as they look to the future. The new Honda Odyssey, an energized and customer focused staff, and over 30 vans in stock makes R & R a dealership to watch!