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Lake Superior Medical Equipment relocates to West Duluth after fire

After two decades in its former location, Lake Superior Medical Equipment's new home is in the Bullyan Center with the nonprofit UDAC.

new medical supply store
Owner Tom Jamison stands in the showroom at Lake Superior Medical Equipment on Thursday, April 27, in Duluth.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

DULUTH โ€” Lake Superior Medical Equipment is ready to reopen Monday following the fire that claimed its previous location last fall.

The locally owned and operated home health care equipment company was founded in 2002. Its president, Tom Jamison, of Duluth, purchased the company with locations in Duluth and Cloquet in March 2015.

The Duluth site operated out of the store and warehouse located at 522 E. Fourth St. until Sept. 14, when a fire destroyed the building, owned by Dick Slotness.

new medical supply store
Owner Tom Jamison and marketing director Yvonne Myers look over the new respiratory services room at Lake Superior Medical Equipment on Thursday, April 27, in Duluth.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune


The business was closed at the time of the fire and no employees were present. Resident Paul Brown alerted residents on the top floor of the building about the fire, allowing them to evacuate safely as firefighters and other first responders arrived at the scene.

"Once we realized all the employees were long out of the building when the fire erupted and that no firefighters were injured, it changes your whole perspective on things. Everything that was lost in the fire was stuff and can be replaced," Marketing Director Yvonne Myers said.

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Although no one was injured, Jamison said the business lost inventory exceeding $400,000, in addition to a delivery van. Following the fire, Lake Superior Medical Equipment received an outpouring of community support, Myers said.

"Our world had been turned upside down, but we really wanted to avoid an impact to patients and customers," Jamison said.

Business and staff were temporarily transferred from Duluth to the Cloquet location at 901 Stanley Ave. to minimize disruption.

"It was very challenging just getting our entire business relocated to Cloquet. We had to relocate people that were working at the Duluth location. There were a lot of adjustments working from a smaller space," Jamison said.

new medical supply store
Owner Tom Jamison and marketing director Yvonne Myers look at some of the new items that are being offered at the new location of Lake Superior Medical Equipment on Thursday, April 27, in Duluth.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

About a dozen staff began working from the office which was previously occupied by three.

"I can't say enough about the great team we have," Jamison said. "When something like this happens, you find out really how strong of a team you have."

Lake Superior Medical Equipment recently signed a long-term lease with UDAC , a nonprofit serving individuals with disabilities.

new medical supply store
Owner Tom Jamison walks through the warehouse at Lake Superior Medical Equipment on Thursday, April 27, in Duluth.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

The new West Duluth space in the Bullyan Center at 4730 Mike Colalillo Drive is roughly 6,000 square feet, similar in size to the previous Lake Superior Medical Equipment site in Duluth. However, it will be laid out quite differently, Jamison said.

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There will be improved parking, a newer show floor for medical equipment and supplies, and an enhanced CPAP fitting area.

new medical supply store
Respiratory equipment is waiting to be unpacked at Lake Superior Medical Equipment on Thursday, April 27, in Duluth.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune
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Brielle Bredsten is the business reporter for the Duluth News Tribune.

She earned a bachelor's degree in Professional Writing & Technical Communication, with minors in Advertising and Creative Writing from Metropolitan State University, in addition to a two-year professional paid internship as reporter/editor of the student newspaper.

She is an award-winning professional writer, photographer and editor based in rural Minnesota. Over the past decade, Brielle Bredsten has contributed more than 1,000 articles, feature stories, non-profit press-releases, photographs and columns. Her work has been published in several community newspapers.

Send her story tips, feedback or just say hi at bbredsten@duluthnews.com.
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