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A regional business now has a larger location where it can best serve its customers in Ellensburg.

Kittitas Medical, a full-service home medical supply company serving Kittitas County, is increasing its Ellensburg presence with a larger showroom and expanded product offerings at its new Main Street location. The business moved this month from its previous location on South Pearl Street in Ellensburg to the newly updated building on Main Street, which formerly housed a storage business. The new location doubles the available showroom space and provides 2,500 square feet of additional onsite storage for inventory.

According to a press release, Howard's Medical is a family-owned, full-service provider of home healthcare and durable medical equipment and supplies based in Yakima, Wash. The company operates four locations throughout Central Washington, including Kittitas Medical in Ellensburg.

Kittitas Medical offers a full line-up of home healthcare products and services, including home oxygen, CPAP and BiPAP, wheelchairs and other mobility aids, hospital beds, bathroom safety and wound care. Nationwide, the release said home healthcare companies have played a major role in home-based treatment for Covid-19 patients, delivering oxygen and other supplies necessary for treatment and recovery from the illness.

“We now have a designated PAP setup/fitting room, and with the added warehouse space, we are able to keep more of the larger items like wheelchairs and hospital beds in stock, which makes for quicker deliveries,” Starla Jeske, Kittitas Medical store lead said in the release.

Before opening in 2016, the release said Kittitas County residents had to go to Wenatchee or Yakima for home healthcare equipment due to a lack of local medical supply providers.

Jeske, who grew up in Ellensburg and returned to her hometown in 2016 to open Kittitas Medical is excited for what the new, expanded location means for serving the home healthcare needs of the region.

“I am excited to be able to give back to a community where I was born and raised,” she said in the release. “I am now helping my teachers, 4-H leaders, classmates and their families with their medical supply needs.”

In an interview, Howard’s Medical CEO Erik Mickelson said company decided to look at purchasing a new building approximately three years ago. Howard’s Medical CEO Erik Mickelson said the company had been looking at purchasing a new location for approximately three years after finding they had outgrown their footprint at their Pearl Street location, forcing them to use additional storage units to maintain stocks of equipment.

“We only had 1,500 square feet,” he said. “We were essentially going across the street to manage our inventory.”

After purchasing its current building, Mickelson said the company found it was short on funds needed to perform the necessary remodeling to bring the building up to what it needed. That changed after an individual accidentally drove their vehicle through the front of the building last March, destroying approximately $25,000 worth of equipment. The insurance claim provided the business with the available funds needed to successfully bring the property up to the condition needed to open the location for business.

“He managed to hit what we wanted to remodel on the building,” Mickelson said. “Essentially, it was half planning and half act of God.”

Once the remodel was complete and the store was able to open, Mickelson said the transition has been both smooth and positive for customers.

“They absolutely love it,” he said. “We’re still working on parking, but that’s hard to do when there’s snow on the ground. We’ll be working on the parking lot hopefully in April or May when the weather gets better.”

Mickelson said the major benefit of the new location is being able to physically access all their inventory in one location. Previously, he said employees had to drive to Yakima at times to pick up equipment that couldn’t be stored at the Ellensburg location.

“It’s better for our patients,” he said. “There are now more supplies and inventory available for all of our patients. We get a lot of discharges from Kittitas Valley Healthcare, so it makes it really easy for us to run down to Main Street, grab whatever we need and meet them either the hospital or their home.”

With the population growth experienced in the county, Mickelson said the new location will help the company keep up with demand for medical supplies as larger populations of county residents require them. He said his favorite part of working in the field is helping enhance his customers’ quality of life.

“We literally improve people’s lives,” he said. “If I do a good job, people get quality time with their family. Instead of being stuck in a lift chair, they can go enjoy their grandkids’ soccer games again. Being able to do that feels great, and I love being of service to the community.”

Reporting for the DR since March 2018. Lover of campfires, black labs and good vibes. Proud Humboldt State alum!

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