By David Slone
WARSAW — The slogan for Alick’s Home Medical is “… because we care,” and that’s also why Jeannine Alick founded Alick’s Home Medical in Elkhart in 1982.
Wednesday, Alick’s had a grand opening celebration at their Warsaw location at 2306 Dubois Drive. The event included tours of the newly renovated facility, complimentary food and beverages, a chance to win prizes include the grand prize of a life chair and a ribbon-cutting ceremony with the Kosciusko Chamber of Commerce.
“I’d like to welcome all of you to the new grand opening for Alick’s Home Medical Equipment, and I pray each and every one of you will remember from where we came,” Jeannine said in remarks before the ribbon-cutting. “We came because we care, and those aren’t just simple words to me. They say a lot. Because we care we come to work, we work all day with a smile, and we talk to people and we do what’s best for them. Not what’s best for our pocketbook. Not what’s best for the business – what’s best for the person in need. And never forget, that could be each and every one of you and some day you’ll want that person to be caring like you.”
Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer said he did a little research and learned the Warsaw location was Alick’s sixth facility they started. He said their first business was a drug store in South Bend in 1967 when he was only in the second grade, and he knew exactly where that drug store was.
Before Alick’s moved to Warsaw, the location on Dubois Drive was a Pill Box Pharmacy owned by the Winn family.
“The Winn family was a very caring family, they did a marvelous job. We hated to see them go, but we’re all in good hands in Warsaw with Alick in town,” Thallemer concluded.
After the ribbon-cutting and photos, Jeannine said her goal in founding Alick’s Home Medical was “to take care of people who needed care and to do it in a way that they didn’t feel obligated. That they knew you did it from your heart, which I did. I made $250 a week, and after five years my husband’s secretary called me and said, ‘Don’t you think we should give you a raise?’ But I never thought about money.”
She recalled a time when a man came in and his wife had cancer. He needed to take her to South Bend once every three weeks for chemotherapy, and he only wanted to rent a wheelchair for one day. His wife had Medicare, but Jeannine didn’t want to bill the man for the required 20%, so she lent the wheelchair to him.
“And every three weeks, he came and got it, and he would bring it back to our drug store, which was opened late at night, and we cleaned it every day as if every time he used it he had it for a whole month. And that’s what I believe Alick’s Home Medical is about – to show we care,” she said.
In 1982, Jeannine traveled to Mayo Clinic with her mother who was in need of surgery. It was there in that hospital setting where Jeannine met a young couple from Florence, Italy, Roberta and Carlo. The couple had traveled to the renowned research clinic in Rochester, Minn., as they were told it was the only institution that might save Roberta from her cancer. When Roberta and Jeannine met, Roberta was recuperating from surgery and in time, would need a full-body cast.
“Her husband came up to me in a break room and asked me if I would visit his wife. Why did he choose me? The room was full of people. As a result, I picked them up at O’Hare a month later and my family and I took care of her in a body cast. After she went back to Italy, I went to take her and all that, my husband said, ‘You’d be good at this business. You love people. You care about people,’” Jeannine recalled.
That was the beginning of Alick’s Home Medical.
Nafe Alick, president and an owner of Alick’s and Jeannine’s son, said in 2021 they worked out a deal with Greg Winn and his father for the Dubois Drive property.
“It was very amicable. We kept things very much the same as how they ran things for a year or so, and then we wanted to renovate the building, put a lot of money and time in renovating the building and making the facility conducive for home medical equipment,” Nafe said. “Anything that you might need in the hospital, but you don’t want to be in the hospital. And you definitely don’t want to go to a nursing home, you want to be in the home. That’s where you’re comfortable. That’s where you live. That’s where you feel good, you’re yourself.”
He said they made the building conducive to being able to display more products, so that people can come in and get information, gain expertise and buy something they need.
“My goal is to bring the expertise that is needed so that if you need to get a wheelchair for your loved one, we are going to educate you. This is how you do it,” he said.
Whether you’re purchasing home medical equipment through insurance or not, he said they will educate the consumer on how to buy it.
There are home medical products for everyone from newborns to senior citizens.
“We have a whole range of equipment and supplies. The big thing is, whether we have what you need right this second or not, when you come in we will help you understand how to solve the problem,” Nafe said.
The staff at Alick’s are specially trained and have gone through specific equipment training. They have registered respiratory therapists that are well trained in regards to any sort of respiratory issue that a person might have, he said.
“We have specially trained staff. Our technicians have been trained at factories for installation of stair lifts. We do modular ramps, we don’t even think about it,” he said. “… We install some modular ramps where we can turn the ramps however they need to be turned so that you can get in and out of your home.”
As for insurance, Nafe said there are “very, very few” insurances that they don’t take. “Whether it’s Humana or United Healthcare or Aetna or Anthem or Blue Cross Blue Shield – I can not name an insurance that we do not take off the top of my head,” he said.
Store hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. They are closed Sundays.
Along with Elkhart and Warsaw, Alick’s also can be found in Plymouth, Mishawaka, South Bend and Michigan City.
“We don’t want to grow just to be bigger. We want to go into a community where we feel we can make an impact,” Nafe said. “… So when there’s a clear need – my mother is really clear about that – do not get bigger just to get bigger. You go to places that you go because there is a need in the community. Because they’re not getting a certain need or because there’s a transition like there was here in Warsaw. Then it makes sense. Then we can bond with a community.”
He said they want to serve the community, the hospitals, the physicians and, at the end of the day, they want to serve the customers.
“They need a place to go and this is going to be the place,” Nafe said.
Visit Alick’s Home Medical website at https://www.alicks.com/.