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Sunday, May 1, 2016

New home for Hill-Rouse gives Storm Lake medical company more room to grow

Monday, February 25, 2002

Hill-Rouse moves to new site on West Milwaukee after 17 years at old location.

On January 10, the employees of Hill-Rouse Ltd. were able to enjoy the peace and quiet of their own offices for the first time in years.

Before the company's move to the 300 block of West Milwaukee Avenue from a smaller site at 200 East Milwaukee, the five employees at the medical equipment company had all of their offices in one room, making routine tasks such as telephone conversations with customers more difficult.

All of that changed a month ago, however, when the quintet moved into a much bigger facility which allows them to showcase medical equipment more effectively - and have their own offices.

Hill-Rouse, purchased by Florida-based Rotech three years, specializes in respiratory and oxygen-related supplies such as CPAP machines, portable oxygen tanks, nebulizers, inhalers and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) machines, and location manager Sharon Nielsen said the move has been a breath of fresh air for the Storm Lake company.

"It's really been a great move," Nielsen said. "Not that I want to put down our old location, because it was a good place for 17 years, but we needed the space for our equipment and for our offices. It's been very good for us."

"We've gotten a really good response from our clients that have come in here, because they love the freshness and the brightness that is here in the new building," Patient Care Coordinator Wendy Moize said. "It's also allowed us to showcase what we have here in the store more effectively with the increased amount of room that we have."

Nielsen said the ability to store all of the medical equipment under one roof was one of the biggest advantages to the new location, as the company had to use off-site garages and shelters to house several of the items, as there simply was not enough room at the East Milwaukee site to accommodate all of the equipment.

"That was a big issue," Nielsen said. "It's great to have everything right here at one location. It makes our job a little easier, and it's definitely beneficial for customers, because now they can stop at one place and see everything for themselves in person, rather than having to look at it in a book because the actual item is somewhere else in town."

The women said increased office space was also a plus. Many of the company's customers are elderly and hard of hearing, and employees must often talk loudly to communicate with the customers over the phone.

With everyone in one large office before, the increase in volume from others talking on the phone also led to distractions, and Moize said those distractions are now gone with the separate offices.

"That has really helped," Moize said. "It has helped with phone calls and it has been beneficial talking with people inside the building as well."

While most Hill-Rouse customers hail from the Storm Lake vicinity, Nielsen said the company does do business as far as Sioux City, and said the new location would help the business expand and grow even more.

"This is a good step for us," Nielsen said. "This is definitely a place that will help us and will help our customers."