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Each week, The Columbian offers a brief snapshot of an interesting Clark County business. Send ideas to Mary Ricks: mary.ricks@columb...; fax 360-735-4598; phone 360-735-4550.
Business name: Comfort Keepers of Vancouver, a franchise business.
Owners: Jim and Pam Woolford and their daughter, Brittany Woolford. Address: 10000 N.E. Seventh Ave., Suite 403. The Woolfords also own Comfort Keepers of Kitsap County.
What the business does: Comfort Keepers provides home care services designed to help seniors and others maintain optimal levels of independence in their own homes. The company's caregiving philosophy includes four inter-related aspects: engagement of the mind, an active body, proper nutrition and safety. In addition to providing assistance with household tasks, such as light housekeeping and meal preparation, and personal care tasks, such as bathing and grooming, the company offers their clients a wide range of companionship services, including conversation, walks, errands, (including transportation), as well as assistance with hobbies and other interests.
Steps to build the business: Comfort Keepers owners have developed close relationships with senior care referral sources such as rehabilitation centers, skill facilities, senior independent living facilities and social workers.
Greatest challenge: Jim Woolford said staffing is always a challenge. With the implementation of new state training requirements, Woolford said his staffing challenges have increased immensely. The mandatory training has removed some very qualified caregivers from employment due to the cost of training.
What's ahead?: Woolford said Comfort Keepers will be implementing a national brand fund that will run television and radio ads on all major networks. Woolford will continue forming partnerships with large HMOs and hospitals by providing solutions to emergency senior care, along with providing discounted pricing for members.
A favorite part of the job: Woolford said this has been the hardest job he has ever had, but also the most rewarding. He and his staff get to affect people's lives positively on a daily basis, by providing them with the highest quality of life and treating them with the same respect and dignity as a family member.
Owner's business history: Prior to opening Comfort Keepers, Jim was a U.S. Navy officer for 22 years. In 2001, he was flying to Florida every couple of weeks to help his sister care for their mother. Financially and emotionally, he said, he could not continue that routine, so in 2002 he started looking for a solution. He found Comfort Keepers solved his problem of care for his mother. After learning more about the company, he and his wife opened their own Comfort Keepers franchise.
Year established in Clark County: 2010.
Employees: 25 full-time and 35 part-time.
Hours: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.