Life changes, and sometimes those changes affect our mobility and dignity. Faced with suddenly having to use an ostomy system, needing assistance to navigate stairs or get out of a bathtub, or dealing with a life changing illness comes with physical and emotional challenges. There is a company in Edmonton that has, for 50 years, helped people of all ages face challenges like these by providing products backed by empathetic support, experience and knowledge. That place is Congdon’s Aids to Daily Living.
Congdon’s Aids to Daily Living Ltd. is where Edmonton and area residents go for medical products, such as stair lifts, powered scooters, wound care, ostomy and incontinence products and more, that help them live their most active and independent life. Services include delivery, repairs, rentals, customized fittings, and installations. Specially For You Wellness Boutique is a division started in 1980 to offer products and services relating to mastectomy recovery, compression needs and more, including in store and mobile fittings.
Claire Congdon launched the business, then known as the Ostomy Care Centre, in 1970.
“There was a new need for people getting surgeries for ostomies, iliostomies, etc. and Claire took up the challenge when her youngest child started in school,” says Don Congdon, president. “Claire was a pioneer at that time for being a woman starting her own business while also becoming an entrostomal therapist.”
Over the years, the company grew in both products and as a family business.
“At Congdon’s, we are more than just a store,” explains Don. “With 50 years of experience under our belt, we know what you need to make an informed decision about the healthcare needs that best suit you and those for which you are providing care. Our excellent customer service team is devoted to providing you with the highest quality of service and products. We are here to listen, advise and educate customers, caregivers and healthcare professionals alike. When visiting your home or establishment, we come well equipped with knowledge, compassion and respect.”
He continues, “My sister, Linda Hollman, and I are proud and excited about our recent expansion and the opportunity to carry on our responsibility to our valued clientele that was originally started by our mother as the Ostomy Care Centre. Now, 50 years later, Congdon’s Aids to Daily Living is a leading home health care dealer, providing a wide range of products for all types of clients and their special needs. We are fortunate to have employed such a great team of people including five third-generation family members. We are not just a family business… we are a business family!”
In the beginning, Claire was the sole proprietor and employee. Today there are 27 on the team. Everyone is focused on providing customers at any age with the products and services that enhance a better and safer quality of life. The knowledgeable, caring staff and fast delivery service is one of the reasons behind their 50-year success.
“We care and we are willing to go above and beyond to help people,” confirms Don. “We carry over 4,000 products and we are diligently expanding our market into the large equipment side such as manual and power wheelchairs, outdoor porch lifts, stair chairs, and more.”
He continues, “Even though Congdon’s sells large equipment and is expanding, the majority of our business is still based on the original soft goods market, such as ostomy, incontinence, wound care, and Wellness Boutique.”
As with many of the city’s local businesses during this time, things can be challenging, despite the longevity of the company and ongoing need for their products and services.
“We love Edmonton and north-central Alberta, however, the City itself has made things very difficult with its high property taxes” explains Don. The COVID-19 economy and City’s high taxes are two of our biggest challenge at this time.”
While addressing these challenges, he also cites, “Working with such an amazing team of people and being able to assist those who are in need of our products and services,” as a daily highlight.
Congdon’s is very invested in the wellbeing of their clients, and that concern extends into the community. For years the company has supported the Edmonton Ostomy Association (until their recent need for closure), ALS Society of Alberta and others.
ALS Society of Alberta’s mission is to provide support, facilitate the provision of care, promote awareness, help find a cure and advocate for change on behalf of those affected by or suffering with the neurological disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. By supporting non-profit organizations like this, Congdon’s demonstrates its unwavering commitment to helping Edmontonians live as actively and independently as possible, now and into the future.
From its humble beginnings and the foresight of one incredible woman half a century ago to today, Congdon’s has changed the lives of thousands of people, helping them regain independence, self confidence, and mobility. Congdon’s has also lessoned the strain on caregivers through products like incontinence support, bath lifts, and patient lifters. Through supporting non-profit and charitable organizations, Congdon’s helps to enable continued research into diseases like ALS that can have such a long-term impact on health, and support for people and their families – who must also learn to adapt – when a loved one becomes differently-abled.
Looking back, Don and Linda couldn’t be happier about the company’s growth since its humble beginnings, and all the people they have helped along the way. They and their team are incredibly grateful to the many people that have provided support over the past 50 years, including past and present team members, vendors, suppliers, networking associates, and – of course – the valued customers.
With a firm foundation and an eye to the future, the family business is set to continue firmly on its path.
“Five third-generation family members are slowly taking over the business with guidance from myself and Linda, while also being mentored and led by Trish Kinney, Congdon’s general manager and employee of 38 years,” says Don.
Whether you need assistance for yourself or someone you love, you are always welcomed warmly at Congdon’s. Don concludes, “We look forward to working with you and welcoming you as a part of the Congdon’s family!”