There is a new hand at the helm of Beltone Hearing Care Centres on Vancouver Island.
But it’s a familiar one, as the company stays in the family.
Jeff Germain and his wife, Sharon, who owned four locations in the north Island region, have bought the rest of the chain’s Island locations from his parents, Ron and Bobbie Germain, who opened the first Beltone Hearing Care Centre in Victoria in 1974.
According to Jeff Germain, he and Sharon expect the transition will bring some change in scenery, a new look to many of the locations and perhaps further expansion of the chain that now boasts 12 spots on the Island and Sunshine Coast.
“We moved up to Comox, bought three from my dad in 2008 and then opened a fourth one. We started updating and moving things around, and we are taking that model to the rest of the Island,” he said.
That means updating many of the offices and, in some cases, looking for better locations.
Germain also said expansion may be in the cards as they would like a more visible storefront location in downtown Victoria and a presence near Oak Bay.
Expansion may be needed as the market is likely to grow as the Baby Boomer generation ages.
“That demographic is starting to come our market. At age 65, there’s a shift in health and about 25 per cent of people at that age need a hearing aid,” said Germain. “It’s rounding that corner and we figure over the next 10 years our market is going to grow exponentially.”
Germain’s company is part of a network of 1,500 Beltone locations in Canada and the U.S. that offer hearing services, including tests, Beltone hearing aids, hearing aid repairs and service.
Germain said he understands the frustration and challenge of hearing loss and said he is committed to continuing the family tradition of service.
“My mom just celebrated her 80th birthday and both of my parents wear hearing aids now. We have a first-hand appreciation for what Beltone does. As each person’s hearing loss is different, the best results can only be reached by taking a personal approach to ensure that the hearing aids are properly fitted and programmed,” he said.
“Our goal is to continue the personal service and honour the work that my parents are so proud of.”