See The Trainer aims to do more than provide sports medicine equipment. It’s looking to Sioux Falls as a perfect location to become a supplier to the city’s booming health care sector.
Tyler Brown was a commercial banker in Omaha with a dream.
He wanted to be his own entrepreneur. But he also missed his days playing sports as an athlete in Vermillion, where he grew up.
“I think what turned me to it, I always reverted back to what I wanted to do: I always wanted to own my business, but what was it that I was passionate about?” Brown said. “For me, it was sports, it was always being around sports.”
So Brown and his family moved back to South Dakota in March, to Sioux Falls – a city increasingly centered around its largest employment sector – health care.
Brown opened See The Trainer, a store offering orthopedic, sports medicine, rehabilitation, home health equipment and patient education, in a storefront on Minnesota Avenue.
Brown said he was eyeing opening a franchise elsewhere, but the Mount Rushmore State called him back.
‘There was just something about South Dakota that I always just wanted to get back to,” he said. “It feels like home to me.”
Brown’s recently opened store is the 10th store of the small See The Trainer company, founded in Omaha, Nebraska, 23 years ago. The company has nine other franchise locations, in Nebraska, Iowa and one each in California and Scottsdale. Brown owns the franchise rights to the state of South Dakota.
“We think this could be a really strong market and we’re excited to be here,” Brown said. “I’m excited to be back in South Dakota.”
See The Trainer’s approach makes Sioux Falls and its booming health care sector a natural fit for the company.
It’s not just a retailer of braces, orthotics and the like at its stores. It seeks to be a wholesaler for local health care providers, physical therapists and educational institutions. It also offers stocking and billing services so its a one-stop shop for rehab equipment and dealing with insurance agencies – a key to the company’s success in largely smaller markets.
“That’s become a really big aspect of our business,” he said. “It’s probably the bulk of our business now in most of our locations.”
There are no shortage of potential partners for See The Trainer in Sioux Falls, from the two largest health care systems, Sanford Health and Avera Health and their network of rural hospitals and health centers, to Sioux Falls Specialty Hospitals, Orthopedic Institute, physical therapists and high schools, colleges universities.
Since See The Trainer is unaffiliated, it can be a supplier to all. And since its focus is narrowly on its sector of equipment fitting and supply, it can eliminate providers’ need to stock their own supply of, say knee and ankle braces.
“I think we can give them a really strong opportunity to diversify a little bit,” Brown said.
See The Trainer focuses on individual service and availability of equipment options, which Brown says sets it apart from other providers.
“We know what we’re doing, we want to do it, we care about the patient, we have have a sense of localness, small business,” he said. “So when you walk in the door, we don’t walk away from you we walk toward you, and we figure out how we help you.”
Brown said he has certified orthotic fitters on staff, and a big enough array of brands and models to find the right fit for each body and budget.
“The question I always ask patients is, ‘what are we getting you back to?'” Brown said. Say you’ve got tennis elbow and the accompanying pain?
“Well, we have eight different tendinitis braces,” he said. “We just branched out into giving you a lot of variety or choice in what works for you. Then we try it on there.”
Brown’s store marries his entrepreneurial instincts with his yearning to get back into sports, in some capacity. Now, when he recently fixed up a football player at a local university with the bracing he needed, he saw it all come together.
“That’s cool to me to get him back out there, because I know what he was going through I know his mentality, I know how hard it was,” he said. “So to be able to help somebody and get him back to it is pretty cool to me.”
See The Trainer is located at 715 S. Minnesota Ave. Its phone number is 605-271-5732. It’s online at www.seethetrainer.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/STTSiouxFalls and on Instagram at @seethetrainer_sf. It is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.
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