PAL Health Technologies II will be a new pal to Pekin if the City Council approves an inducement resolution to help the new owners of the former orthodics business financially.
Dr. Aaron Rossi, orthopedic surgeon, and Dr. Gerald Paul, podiatrist, both practicing in Bloomington, bought the facility at 1805 Riverway Drive in Riverway Business Park after the original owners folded. The company will manufacture the same line of products as the former company did but will add new products in approximately six months, said Rossi.
The inducement resolution shall not exceed $150,000 for eligible cost reimbursements, $25,000 for job training, and, if job training is not needed, the $25,000 can be used for other TIF-eligible expenses. The city will include a five-year pay-for-performance incentive, which will be based on annual certifications of employment and shall not exceed an amount equivalent to the city’s portion of the property taxes levied on the property
The new company will start out with 30 head-of-household jobs.
“We are absolutely looking to grow,” said Rossi. He said they have hired a new large sales crew. “We’re interviewing a lot of the people that were here and (we’re) getting background information.
“It was very poor morale here. A lot of these people are very, very grateful, very thankful, very excited and motivated to come back and really give it another go. PAL should stand for family oriented environment where everybody’s treated the same.”
Not all of the former employees will be rehired.
Rossi said he spends about 40 percent of his time in the clinical side of his practice and 60 percent of his time in entrepreneurial endeavors — the “business side of things.”
“I think in this day and age with private practice the way it is, we have understood that basically ancillary services are necessary to help us grow and continue to have revenue streams coming in considering our reimbursements continue to go down and it’s harder and harder to get paid,” said Rossi. Rossi said they heard the company had closed and thought about buying equipment that might be for sale so they could start a small lab in their offices.
“We showed up the weekend of their closure, walked in and got a tour with hardly any information given to us and was really kind of intrigued by the whole thing,” said Rossi. “We started our due diligence process in October, spent a lot of time researching it, financials, meetings and attorneys, you name it.
“We came to the agreement that this was a good idea, made an offer and they accepted the offer. So here we are.”
Rossi said the inducement the city is offering is “significantly important, “because we also feel like we have some backing behind us from the city. In providing 30 jobs back to Pekin residents that are real jobs with benefits and health insurance and 401-Ks, Dr. Paul and I really don’t need this as a income source, but I think it’s more or less as a challenge, and we need some backing too. It’s important to feel like your supported by the community that you’re in, and I think Pekin just did a heck of the job coming to the table with us very quickly. We had a significant problem in McLean County. They were dragging their feet left and right. The way Pekin came on board was unbelievable.”