Scott Vineyard ’96 Feels Fulfilled in New Business Venture
Source Courtesy of Shoutout Arizona
Our brother Scott Vineyard ’96 recently made headlines for his recent business opportunity that has filled the void he was felt was missing in his work. Read on to catch up with the Q&A below!
Hi Scott, how does your business help the community?
When I decided to start my own business and leave the financial and job security of working for a corporation, I wanted to be sure that the business I chose would be meaningful and would positively impact others. I really enjoyed my previous work, but I felt like something was missing. I needed to be sure I could still provide a living for my family while doing something to help others in a meaningful way. That is when I discovered a new franchise called Mobility Plus. The State of Arizona was still available for purchase, so I became the Arizona Area Developer, and opened my first store in Scottsdale, Arizona.
At Mobility Plus we sell, rent, repair, and install all types of mobility and fall prevention equipment including scooters, powerchairs, liftchairs, autolifts, patient lifts, ramps, wheelchairs, transport chairs, walkers, grab bars, beds and so many other items. After making the decision to pursue this opportunity, the business quickly evolved into a family business/mission as my wife then joined me full time and our teenage children help during their time off from school.
As I studied the industry to inform my decision, my wife and I both became very excited since we have been on the consumer end helping to take care of our loved ones, and we saw so many opportunities to make the experience a better one. We found it very confusing and stressful to figure out the best solutions to help keep our loved ones comfortable and safe while also protecting the caregivers. This process can be very confusing with so many current products and new ones continuously being introduced, and it is difficult for caregivers and customers to know which ones are the best fit for their needs. We view our roles as Mobility Consultants to be focused on educating our customers and their caregivers about the options available based on their current and future needs. As a result, we have been able to help so many people avoid a fall, regain lost mobility while they are recovering from surgery or an illness, increase their mobility to allow them to go where they want to go and more fully enjoy life, whether their mobility has been constrained by an illness, permanent injury or a temporary injury and help keep caregivers safe.
Through our retail operation, we are able provide the highest quality of products at an affordable cost to help both the caregiver and the customer. If their condition is progressive, we help them plan for what may come next to make the most informed product decisions today. Many have commented that being able to come into our store to test drive, see, learn about and be fitted for the products clears up much of their confusion and makes their purchasing decisions much easier. Many of those same customers have frustrating stories about online purchases made previously which they regret. Our rental operation focuses on helping those with a temporary need, including visitors to the area who may injure themselves while here or just need increased mobility to enjoy their vacation more fully with loved ones. Our repair operation supports our customers with their current mobility devices, saving them money while continuing to enjoy greater mobility. Finally, our installation operation helps make spaces more accessible and safer in both their homes and commercial environments.
Finally, by becoming an Area Developer, I can bring more locally owned businesses like ours to other communities throughout Arizona. This allows us to reach so many more people where they need it most, in their local communities. Since we opened our store in North Scottsdale in September of 2020, other franchisees have joined us for a total of 4 stores now open in Arizona with 2 more soon to open. It is so exciting to see the impact we have on our local communities throughout the state and the country as additional franchisees and stores come on board!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I knew from an early age that I wanted to attend The Wharton School of Business at The University of Pennsylvania. As a result, I chose the most rigorous High Schools I could that were within driving distance of where my family lived. I was fortunate enough to be accepted into Wharton and graduated with a BS in Economics and a Concentration in Finance. Unlike many of my peers, I was not interested in Banking and wanted to work for a company that made a product recognized by the consumer. I ended up working in Business Planning and Analysis at Taco Bell Corporate in Irvine, CA when PepsiCo owned them. There were a lot of wonderful things about that experience, but the company was very large, and I felt like a small cog in a big wheel. I then went from there to a start-up company in Scottsdale, AZ. I truly enjoyed my time there, as I reported to the CFO and had many different responsibilities. This is where I learned how much I enjoyed smaller companies and an entrepreneurial environment. Since then, I have worked for many different companies of various sizes in electronics manufacturing (both direct to consumer and contract electronics manufacturing), food manufacturing, services, and before opening my Mobility Plus business, I worked for 15+ years leading the Strategy work of an Excess & Surplus Lines Insurance Company that insures the most difficult types of risks.
From an expertise standpoint, I started in Financial Analysis and Planning and then moved into Mergers and Acquisitions and finally ended up working in Strategy full time. I really enjoyed those roles because they touch on all aspects of the business. Many other roles just focus on a specific portion of a given business.
I was fortunate in that the progression of my career happened mostly organically. The most difficult challenge was finding unique opportunities which would allow me to stay in the Scottsdale/Phoenix area, since my wife and I did not want to move. When we had our son, I decided I had to leave Mergers & Acquisitions since it required so much travel. I wanted to be home more with my wife and son. My time in Strategy at the Excess and Surplus Lines Insurance Company was great. I had a very rewarding role there and the work/life balance was great which was very important to me as we had our second child while I was there. My family is the most important thing to me, and it was important to me to be there for them as much as possible. In addition, the company provided tremendous benefits such as a pension, matching 401k and I got up to 6 weeks of paid time off by the time I left.
One of the biggest challenges was building up the courage to leave my last job where I was very comfortable. The benefits were great, my work/life balance could not be much better, and I was very secure and happy financially. I just felt like I had more to offer and wanted to be sure that I did not stay there out of complacency or comfort. Making the decision to leave the security and start this business right when COVID first hit, was a true risk and out of my comfort zone initially, but I am so glad that I did. I may not have made that decision if my family had not been so supportive.
Finally, I faced the challenge of finding the right business concept. I was looking for something where I could truly have a positive impact on others and something that was scalable. This industry and the opportunity to become an Area Developer for the State of Arizona with a business model like Mobility Plus’s was the perfect fit. I enjoy my daily interactions with customers and sensing their relief when I consult with them to find a solution for their needs. Many of them come into the store feeling the same confusion and stress my wife and I would feel when trying to help take care of our loved ones. This is such gratifying work.
I also really enjoy talking with potential franchisees who end up joining us in Arizona and helping them get set up. I love educating them on the industry and market and seeing them grow and be successful while serving more people in Arizona. I truly enjoy how we all work together to help meet a customers’ needs. One store may not have what the customer is looking for or needs, but another store does and is able to step in to help that person. Our store has a great family feeling/environment which has extended to all of the stores currently open in Arizona. We all help and are a resource for each other.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Some places I would be sure to take them to are Sedona, The Grand Canyon, Page (with a stop in Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon), hiking in various spots around the Valley (Pinnacle Peak, Camelback), a few of the great golf courses, Desert Botanical Gardens, Butterfly Wonderland, Tempe Town Lake, Greenbelt, Boulders, Carefree, Rock Springs for their pies and some of our famous resorts (e.g., The Arizona Biltmore, Castle Hot Springs, etc…). I would also take them to some of the lakes such as Lake Pleasant and Bartlett Lake. During Christmas time Zoo Lights and The Fairmont Princess are great places to visit too.
I would also take them to walk around Old Town Scottsdale and Mill Avenue. Some of the restaurants I would take them to are Pomo’s, Bianco’s Pizzeria, The Parlour, Barrio Cafe, Sanctuary, North and other restaurants in The Kierland Commons and The Quarter.
There are so many fun things to do and great restaurants to enjoy. It would really depend on what my friend enjoys doing.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would give credit to my grandfather and father who both came from humble beginnings and made the American Dream. I credit my mother who raised three boys to go after their dreams. The love and encouragement from my wife is a big reason why I was able to take this leap into the world of Entrepreneurship. She has always been a big supporter of mine and believes that I can do anything I put my mind to. In addition, she jumped into this new business with both feet once I made the decision to move forward and said I could use her help. Finally, my two children have been huge supporters of me taking this risk and have helped tremendously by putting in a lot of their time during their summer break and other school vacations to help. My family has been so supportive of this move, and they love to see how happy entrepreneurship and helping others makes me. Finally, I am grateful for the other business owners who have joined me in Arizona to open their own Mobility Plus stores in their local communities. They are so great to work with and have given us the ability to help more people in Arizona. I look forward to meeting other entrepreneurs who are interested in joining us and starting a Mobility Plus store in their local community!