If you were to read about what makes an entrepreneur successful you would be reading about Mark Schnieders, the man behind not one, but two flourishing businesses in Huron. Mark is a native Ohioan, growing up in nearby Berlin Heights.
“I have always had a draw to this area,” Schnieders said. “I’m a water guy. I have always had boats.”
Schnieders wanted to be a doctor but realized quickly it wasn’t his path or his passion. He met a man in medical sales and that piqued his interest. He changed his major to sales and marketing but unfortunately, he didn’t have any experience, making it difficult to get into medical sales immediately. He successfully sold copiers and did very well.
It wasn’t until 2008 that things began to really change. Companies were downsizing, and he felt he was next. He had a friend who was in the insurance business and he started selling for him.
By day, he sold medical equipment. On nights and weekends, he sold insurance.
“That went on for a couple of years. I never lost my job,” Schnieders said. “When I sold my first insurance policy it was ‘Wow, I did all the work on this. I completed the sale. This customer is mine, and as long as I protect and service that customer, they’re staying with me.’ It was a pretty incredible feeling.”
In 2008, he opened Safe Harbor Insurance, an independent agency.
Then, in 2012, he had the opportunity to start his own medical sales company, Stride Mobility. He continued to fulfill his obligation to his medical sales job, but his own companies were growing. He quickly realized that selling regular wheelchairs was not the area he needed to concentrate on, and moved into Complex Rehab Technology, more specialized vehicles designed to meet a more involved need.
In 2014, Mark cut the cord to corporate America and has been running his own businesses ever since.
Stride Mobility currently has 15 employees, including three occupational therapists, a certified occupational therapist assistant and a registered nurse. Schnieders says they are able to design a wheelchair that is specific to each individual’s needs – and that’s what sets them apart.
“These aren’t your everyday wheelchairs you see going down a hospital hallway,” said Schnieders. “We can provide customized wheelchairs for each individual.”
His new 13,660-square-foot facility will house both Stride Mobility and Safe Harbor Insurance. It will have a maneuverability course and an interactive showroom that will allow customers to see, feel and try out equipment. In addition, there will be a mock-up area where customers can actually see how they will do in real world situations. Since most homes are not designed for wheelchair accessibility, this will allow customers to review different options and choose what best suits them.
“I like to be a problem solver, that is who I am,” he said. “I want to make it right!”