My Pet’s Brace is 10 years old! Let’s look back over the past decade and see how we have progressed from a small, hopeful start-up to a thriving, well-reputed company.
Jim Alaimo and Mark Hardin were looking for the next chapter in their lives after the large orthotics and prosthetics company they were working for downsized. Jim, a board Certified Prosthetist Orthotist, was Vice-President of Clinical Services and Compliance and Mark, a certified CPA, oversaw operations. Neither was ready for retirement even if it did mean more golfing and fishing.
One day over lunch they were kicking around ideas about what they were going to do next. Mark brought up the idea of doing prosthetics and orthotics for animals. Not really a far-fetched idea since occasionally over his years in prosthetics, Jim was asked to create devices for animals in need. Initially, the big question was: Is the demand for that type of item great enough to create and sustain a viable company? Hmmm…
The seed was planted that day during lunch, and as the saying goes, mighty oaks from little acorns grow. They began researching and surveyed over 1,100 veterinarians across the country about the need and interest in custom veterinary orthotics and prosthetics. The response was an overwhelming yes. Research continued, a business plan was created, funding was investigated, and the idea took root. Jim and Mark officially founded My Pet’s Brace in 2010 and began seeing patients in January of 2011.
Location can make or break a company and that was a huge question. Both men wanted a location that was easily accessible, especially for people traveling a great distance. They realized that such a specialized company would draw clientele from surrounding states and possibly farther. When they found an available building in Morgantown, Pennsylvania it was the perfect location – literally 3 minutes from the Pennsylvania Turnpike, an hour from Philadelphia, and less than three hours from New York City and Washington, DC. There was 3,000 square feet of room for manufacturing and patient care.
As with any business the early years were challenging. The first year came with a lot of down time and wondering if this was the right decision. While the investigative feedback from vets was positive, many vets encountered early on were not thrilled about bracing. The good news was that once they saw the outcome of bracing with their clients, they were convinced and started recommending braces to other clients and other vets. The first year closed having fabricated 77 braces.
Fast forward ten years. Mark has retired to enjoy some of that well-deserved fishing. Jim primarily concentrates on prosthetics and special cases. We currently manufacture an average of 160 braces per month and have made over 9,500 braces to date. Braces routinely ship worldwide, and we have shipped to 29 countries, including Australia, Russia, Hong Kong, and Africa. Our most common brace continues to be our knee brace for ACL/CCL injuries.
In 2017, the Morgantown office moved (across the street) to a larger facility, doubling our space to 6,000 square feet and we have gained the confidence and endorsement of thousands of vets. In the fall of 2018, a satellite location was opened in Canonsburg, PA near Pittsburgh to better serve western PA and the Midwest.
Our team has grown from two to thirteen. My Pet’s Brace now employs four clinicians to evaluate patients, take casts and fit braces. There are three clinicians at our main office in Morgantown, PA and one clinician at our facility in Canonsburg. Four fabrication technicians ensure braces are completed to our high-quality standards and on time. Last but not least, there are four administrators who answer the phone and keep the business moving.
While our goal is to continue growing the company and improving our product, we strive to maintain our personal atmosphere. We stand behind every brace we produce, and excellent customer service drives the company long after the braces leave our facility.
Jim no longer questions the decision he made a decade ago. He knows it was the right decision. He, along with all the employees, are dedicated to making a high-quality product to help pets with orthotic injuries. So, happy anniversary My Pet’s Brace. We have come a long way in ten years and there are thousands of pets worldwide that will attest to the fact that we are helping them to live happier, healthier lives!