DULUTH — Lake Superior Medical Equipment is set to reopen Monday after the fire that consumed its previous location last fall.
The locally owned and operated home health equipment company was founded in 2002. Its president, Tom Jamison, of Duluth, purchased the company with headquarters in Duluth and Cloquet in March 2015.
The Duluth location operated out of the store and warehouse located at 522 E. Fourth St. until September 14, when a fire destroyed the building, owned by Dick Slotness.
The establishment was closed at the time of the fire and there were no employees. Resident Paul Brown alerted residents on the top floor of the building to the fire, allowing them to safely evacuate when firefighters and other first responders arrived on the scene.
“Once you realize that all employees were out of the building when the fire started and that no firefighters were injured, it changes your whole perspective on things. Everything that was lost in the fire was material and can be replaced”, Director of Marketing Yvonne Myers said.
While no one was injured, Jamison said the company lost inventory in excess of $400,000, as well as a delivery van. After the fire, Lake Superior Medical Equipment received a huge amount of support from the community, Myers said.
“Our world has been turned upside down, but we really wanted to avoid an impact to patients and customers,” said Jamison.
Business and staff were temporarily relocated from Duluth to the Cloquet location at 901 Stanley Ave.
“It was very challenging just relocating our entire business to Cloquet. We had to relocate people working at the Duluth location. There were a lot of adjustments working in a smaller space,” said Jamison.
About a dozen employees started working in the office that was previously occupied by three.
“I can’t say enough about what a great team we have,” said Jamison. “When something like that happens, you really find out how strong the team you have is.”
Lake Superior Medical Equipment recently signed a long-term lease with UDAC, a non-profit organization that serves people with disabilities.
The new West Duluth space at the Bullyan Center at 4730 Mike Colalillo Drive is approximately 6,000 square feet, similar in size to Lake Superior Medical Equipment’s previous location in Duluth. However, it will be presented quite differently, Jamison said.
There will be improved parking, a newer display floor for medical equipment and supplies, and an improved CPAP fitting area.