Carney Medical closing Store a downtown staple for 46 years
From: Rochester Times
By Conor Makem
ROCHESTER — It came as a shock to much of the Rochester community that Bill and Jan Keefe were closing their store this week. The owners of Carney Medical Supply on North Main Street for more than 46 years, they’ve become as much a part of the city as anyone ever has.
In a letter to the editor, the couple, both in their early 70s, cited health reasons as well the introduction of the Medicare Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics and Supplies (DMEPOS) Competitive Bidding Program.After 46 years, Bill and Jan Keefe are closing the doors of Carney Medical Supply. (Ryan McBride/Staff photo)
Starting July 1, “… only specific companies won the Medicare Bidding Contracts. Therefore only those selected DME companies will be permitted to bill Medicare for payment. Their services will be performed at a reduced reimbursement rate, encroaching on the smaller community business that cannot find it financially feasible to continue to effectively serve its clients with the drastic reimbursement cuts,” their letter stated.
“The public is not being taken care of the way they should be,” Bill Keefe said.
Dr. Alexander Smith is a retired Rochester physician. He also is lifelong friends with the Keefes. “They’re wonderful people. We had a great relationship. (Bill) would get me something if I needed it for a patient in the middle of the night,” Dr. Smith said. “I can’t say enough about them.”
Dr. Smith and Bill Keefe were also old hunting buddies.
“He was a very good shot,” Dr. Smith said.
Gerry Gilbert, of Profile Insurance Group, and board member of the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce, was surprised and saddened to hear that the Keefes would be closing Carney Medical.
“They have been pillars of this community forever and they’re going to be sorely missed for a lot of reasons,” he said. “There aren’t two nicer people or two bigger supporters of Rochester. They are the heart and soul of the downtown.”
Gilbert recalled the flak that Bill Keefe took when he removed the soda machine from the pharmacy decades ago.
“He was just a pioneer,” Gilbert said. “He made changes and took a lot of risk and each time it was a success. He was able to adapt to the changes of life more than anyone I’ve known.”
When the Keefe’s set up their pharmacy 46 years ago, they were in the unit next door. The A&P sat in the spot they now occupy. Bill Keefe recalls walking next door for steaks and cooking them out back of his shop on a hot plate.
“You couldn’t do that nowadays,” Jan Keefe noted.
The store changed through the years, but through it all, Bill Keefe was on call 24 hours a day. “I’ve done many things,” Bill Keefe said. “And I’m proud of what I did.”
“He is just one of those guys who cared and went out of his way,” Gilbert said. “That’s what he did and he loved it.”
Dr. Smith referred to Bill Keefe as incredibly creative, making original designs for medical devices or special medicine to fit his patients’ needs.
“He was always a pleasant, gracious person with a good sense of humor,” he said. “And she was also very generous with her time and helpful.”
According to Jan Keefe, they made a good living and met wonderful people through their business.
They have two children, son Jamie and daughter Kimberly Swasey, who was born the year they opened their store. They also have three grandchildren. Their children, according to Jan Keefe, were raised in the store. They were on the cash registers by age 6 and the shop taught them how to be social. Both children feel it’s time for their parents to take care of themselves.
The Keefes aren’t sure what’s going to happen to the storefront. They own the building, but decisions need to be made. They only know that Carney Medical Supply is closing.
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