The Bedford Orthotics Story
In 1988 our President, Andrea Richard, learned about a job making orthotics while at a church picnic the summer she graduated with her Kinesiology degree from Dalhousie. She was hired on the day of her interview and spent the next 10 years taking the bus downtown to work for Orthotics East. She was grateful to Freeman Churchill for strong mentorship and the opportunity to master her craft.
In 1993, Andrea became one of the first women in Canada to achieve their Canadian Certified Pedorthist designation.
Custom Orthotics Lab in Bedford, NS
In 1998, Andrea took the bold step of setting up her own orthotics clinic and lab in her home town of Bedford.
“At the time there were no orthotics companies in Bedford owned by Canadian Certified Pedorthists”, says Andrea, “I grew up in Bedford, lifeguarded at Lion’s Pool and was Miss Bedford in 1983. I love it here. You could say I’m home town proud so it made sense to build my new business here.”
“I love Bedford because it still feels like a small town. Where else can you clarify your clinic’s location by simply mentioning, ‘We’re above Cora’s,’ and everybody knows exactly where we are,” muses Andrea.
Customer Service and Quality Footwear
Bedford Orthotics has built success in an economy where many businesses close in the first 5 years because of the classic formula of great service and unique quality products.
Andrea was a poster person when she opened her business in 1998 with help from the Centre for Women in Business
“People come to us with foot, knee or back pain and expect relief,” says Andrea, “exceeding their expectations is how we built our trusting, loyal patient base that continues to refer their friends, family, and coworkers. We also get a lot of people who have tried other solutions and have come to us as a last resort.”
Unique Plaster Casting Process
Like wearing glasses for your feet, a Canadian Certified Pedorthist fits custom orthotics to correct the way the foot touches the earth. This allows your foot to function normally by eliminating the underlying cause of alignment related injuries.
“Nobody makes orthotics quite like we do,” says Andrea, “over my 30 years as a pedorthist we have developed a process for creating a 3-dimensional weight-bearing plaster cast of your foot as it truly touches the ground. When it comes to accuracy and optimal results we see less need for adjustments and fine-tuning and most importantly, greater sustained relief of pain.”
Foot Care Education for Healthcare Professionals and Workplaces
Bedford Orthotics is committed to public education about how to achieve happy feet. In addition to working side by side with referring healthcare professionals like Doctors, physiotherapists and chiropractors, Andrea sets aside time in her busy schedule to offer public information sessions to employee teams at workplaces; sport and health fitness groups and community groups about what to look for when buying proper footwear and common foot injuries that can be corrected by orthotics.
Reflecting on changes in her foot care industry over the last twenty years Andrea notes that while orthotic type products are becoming more available through various sources, all major insurance companies have taken the position to quality protect consumers with insurance plans by recognizing Canadian Certified Pedorthists, and other foot-specific health professionals as qualified providers for health plan coverage.
Custom Orthotics Making a Difference
When asked to share memorable moments that stand out since she opened her Bedford clinic, Andrea relates two cases where custom orthotics made a difference.
One story was about a little girl born with Extreme Flexible Flat Feet, a condition so severe that her mother was told her daughter would never learn to walk. The day she received her orthotics she was stable enough to pull herself up to standing and within a week she was walking. Then there was the 68-year-old with Achilles Tendonitis who was told he would never play recreational basketball again. With his custom handcrafted orthotics, he was back to playing basketball 3 times a week pain-free.
Future of Bedford Orthotics
What does the next 20 years hold for Bedford Orthotics? The company is entering an exciting expansion phase bringing on more Canadian Certified Pedorthists and lab staff to compliment their happy feet team. They already have a thriving clinic in Antigonish and Truro will be opening more clinics in other communities who need access to quality happy feet products and services.
“I joke about preparing my kids to take over if I ever retire”, says Andrea, “but the truth is we’re dedicated to offering quality handcrafted orthotics for as long as there is a need for people to live pain-free so they can do what they love with their families while making our community a better place to live.”
Bedford Orthotics is a proud member of the Bedford Business Association. The BBA is dedicated to seeking opportunities to create economic growth while fostering community well-being.