The Shop-In Service 
1-973-390-7540

Interview

Shopping Service Helps People with

Disabilities

by Mary Ann Farrell - New York Times News Service

September '98

 

You have a disability that no longer permits you to travel outside your home. You're starting to have friends run errands for you, neighbors mow your lawn, family helps with shopping.

You're sick of it. What do you do? If you're Lisa Geng, you think big and you start a home shopping service with the potential to go International. "In 1994, I had a difficult pregnancy and was put on bedrest," Geng says. I knew women who didn't stay on bedrest, just did a little shopping and eventually lost the baby. I began to have people run errands for me and I began to stretch it. If you could run this by the house, could you also run this?

Those "stretch marks" were the tools of a certified inventor. Once the baby was born, she began to see the need and using the skills she had in place as an inventor/designer, she was pretty sure a shopping service would work. That gave birth in 1997 to The Shop-In Service, Inc., headquartered out of Warren, New Jersey.

"We're primarily now known in the tri-state area of New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania," she explains. "But we're looking into national and even International potential. We're finding out what services people need and then working with disability agencies in a great many states. We really took off when we started working with clients from St. Barnabas Hospital in Livingston, New Jersey. Among some of the participating companies include Medicare Supply Company (medical supplies), Comfy Concepts (adaptable clothing), Ridgedale Wireless (adaptive electronics), Natural Access (custom wheel chairs) from New Jersey and organic foods out of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. This way, people remain independent. "They can stay in their homes," she says. "That's what everyone wants, empowerment and independence. We work with people who do home haircuts, lawn services, handyman repairs, grocery shopping, you name it. People with disabilities need all those services.

The Shop-In Service, in turn, gets a small fee from participating companies, not the clients directly. "I can tell you so many stories, the woman who could no longer get groceries because of cerebral palsy and her son; the stories are endless. We're now working in about ten states but we're looking into what it would take to go Nationwide."

"When a client calls The Shop-In Service, that person gets an individual who will listen carefully to their needs and then try to match the home service," Geng says. She believes that's an important part of the company's success. "They get a real person," she says. "And our clients have told us they love that."

If you're interested in a particular need for a home shopping service or want to know what's available from your area, contact The Shop-In Service at the mailing address 108 Hillcrest Road, Warren, New Jersey 07059 or call 973-390-7540.

 

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