Technology and scale have made it so much simpler to buy the things we want or need, to have a
consistent experience in dining or hospitality wherever we travel, and to avoid waiting in line or sitting in traffic because of a necessary trip to the store. Growing up, every August we would go downtown to the shoe store to get new shoes for school, then to the department store for school clothes, then somewhere else for school supplies. Now, I can spend a few minutes on Amazon or similar websites to conveniently find all that I need. If I am going out to eat, I know that a meal or drink from McDonald’s, Chili’s, Starbuck’s, and other chains will taste the same from Miami to Anchorage to Tokyo, London, and beyond.
In recent years, though, there seems to have been more of a focus on supporting small businesses and
shopping locally. Many people are willing to pay a little extra to have an experience that feels more
personal. You get to know the people who are directly benefiting from your patronage, and you get
more customized attention.
The same choice between small, local provider and national chain exists in retirement communities.
Large chains that are national or international in scope provide a consistent product that is recognizable market to market. There may be small differences in the dining program or activities to consider local favorites or pastimes, but the same set of policies and procedures govern what is provided, how the community looks, and what is included in the fees. Thanks to the efficiencies of corporate governance, prices may be a bit lower but customization in programming seems to be more difficult.
In small providers, like Vicar’s Landing, our approach is much more local and much more personal. We
can take resident feedback and change our operations to address changing wants and needs. We
created a community that fits into the local culture and look of a beachside town. Since executive
management is local, decisions can be made quickly. However, we found a way to take advantage of the
benefits of a larger system through affiliation with Novare. Novare is a consortium of independent, not-for-profit Life Plan Communities, like Vicar Landing that have affiliated to collaborate, innovate, and
share best practices to be leaders in housing and services to older adults. Novare helped us achieve the best of both worlds by retaining our independence while receiving all the benefits of being a part of a larger entity.
Here are the links to Novare member communities:
The Legacy Senior Communities
Masonic Homes of Kentucky
St. John’s on the Lake