Made in WNY: Main Mobility

June 2, 2014 Updated Jun 2, 2014 at 8:10 AM EDT

By Elizabeth Carey

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June 2, 2014 Updated Jun 2, 2014 at 8:10 AM EDT

A Clarence company is celebrating 30 years, not just in business, but 30 years of helping people with disabilities regain their independence.

Tom Lorentz is a musician turned business owner who used to retrofit vans for his band to travel when someone asked him to convert a van for their child in wheelchair.

That was 1984 when Main Mobility was born. Today, Lorentz's team of 30 employees can create vehicles for commercial use. "What we do, we take a full-size van, cut the roof off and raise the top and make it wheelchair accessible and raise the door openings," Lorentz explained.

Groups like Aspire and Heritage Centers rely on Paratransit vehicles to service clients.

The other aspect of the business is personal mobility. The company can take cars, vans and even four-wheel drive vehicles and make them wheelchair accessible.

Several options are on display at Main Mobility's showroom in Clarence though the company doesn't sell the actual vehicles. They work with car dealers and customers to come up with the right adaptation to meet customer needs like hand controls that allow people to drive without using their legs.

Over the past 30 years, Lorentz says the focus at Main Mobility hasn't been about sales, but about providing solutions to customers to live them their lives back, "On the personal side, if you or I, for whatever reason, tomorrow ended up in a wheelchair, what would I do? Could I still carry on with my job? How would I get there?"

Main Mobility provides answers for those customers who make up about 80 percent of their client base.

After three decades helping such customers regain their independence, there's only one way for Lorentz to measure his success... by the odometer.

"When they come in here, I take a peak in their car and say how many miles you got on there?" Lorentz explains. "When I see those big numbers, 60,000 or 70,000, I know we've been a part of helping them continue on with an independent lifestyle."

Main Mobility is located at 9580 Main Street in Clarence, right across from Clarence High School.