Steve Cunningham is still receiving stock for his Majors Medical Supply business on Vilas Road, where he will sell wheelchairs and other medical equipment. pennell photo

Right place, right time for medical supplies

Southern Oregon ranks high on multiple lists of best places to retire, so it's no surprise to see businesses catering to seniors following them here.

Oklahoma-based Majors Medical Supply is among the latest newcomers to the Rogue Valley, designing custom wheelchairs, orthotics, prosthetics and durable medical equipment.

"There should be growing demand there with all the baby-boomers retiring," said Majors Medical Supply President Pat Metz. "Getting in there makes sense."

Manager Steve Cunningham oversees the 1,300-square-foot office at 540 Vilas Road, which inventories walkers, canes and oxygen tanks among its supplies. Cunningham said he anticipates first year revenue of between $1 million and $1.5 million.

Just as other businesses operators have discovered in the past, the area north of the airport is a jurisdictional quagmire. "For tax purposes, we're in Medford," Cunningham said. "For mailing we're in Central Point. Qwest gave us phone numbers and then turned around and gave it to someone else."

The company hoped to open the office on March 1, but the application for Medicare approval was sidelined twice — once because of the phone number snafu and a second time when a real estate broker gave Majors Medical the incorrect suite letter.

Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development Inc. and the Small Business Development Center connected the company with Congressman Greg Walden's staff members who were able to speed up the process.

"Those are things beyond our sphere of influence," said SOREDI chief Ron Fox. "They thought they had done everything necessary, but couldn't get an answer out of the federal agency. We talk about being an advocate for the business and that's what we were able to do."

Majors Medical Supply opened in Oklahoma City 10 years ago with four employees and has grown to 20.

Metz said there will be different competitive dynamics in Southern Oregon than in Oklahoma City, where the market is around a million people.

"Our market research showed there might be opportunity," Metz said. "We've got everything established with our suppliers so it was easy to bring in. Steve was going out there and we decided to give it a try."

Majors Medical Supply's hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Its phone number is 665-0133 and its Web site is

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 776-4463 or at

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