Amigo Mobility International Inc
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Amigo Mobility International Inc, founded by Allan R. Thieme in 1968, changed the mobility industry by inventing the first power operated vehicle/scooter (POV). Located in Bridgeport, Michigan, the company manufactures multiple lines of products for healthcare, commercial, transportation services and active lifestyle/travel applications worldwide. As an original equipment manufacturer (OEM), Amigo also designs, manufactures and utilizes components to work with companies creating custom mobility solutions.
The first Amigo sold was the Front Drive, a small model made for easy in-home use. Today the healthcare line includes more than nine POVs, two car lifts and specialty options, including a halachically-approved Shabbat module (also referred to as the Amigo Shabbat or a Shabbat scooter) added to select models for use throughout observance of Sabbath, and the SmartSensor by Amigo which is an impact-avoidance system using SMART technology to measure the distance of an obstacle in front of the rider, setting the speed of the POV to a safe level of approach. The SmartSensor is used, primarily, in retirement villages and independent living environments. It was developed after Thieme was asked to consider a safety system by a Pennsylvania retirement community concerned about its residents driving POV/scooters and causing property damage or impact accidents with staff members and other residents.
Amigo introduced the first electric shopping cart made for retail environments. Fred Meijer was the first to purchase Amigo electric shopping carts for his Meijer store located in Flint, Michigan in 1970. Since then, electric shopping carts have become a staple in many grocery store chains, government commissaries and big box retailers. Amigo's commercial line includes five different models distributed internationally.
Amigo POV/scooters are also available in other public settings. Libraries of all types are purchasing motorized scooters for the convenience of their disabled patrons. Woodridge Public Library in Illinois and Laramie County Library in Wyoming both have Amigo scooters available for use.
In 2012, Amigo Chairman and Founder Al Thieme and CEO Beth Thieme were named "Michigan Manufacturer of the Year" by the Michigan Manufacturing Association. The award is given each year to two companies (large and small tier) who prove a commitment to Michigan manufacturing, job creation and positive contributions to the community.
Timeline of Amigo
1968 - Allan R. Thieme invents and sells the first Amigo mobility scooter, a small yellow front drive model
1970 - First Amigo Shopper (motorized shopping cart) is sold to Meijer Thrifty Acres store in Michigan
1977 - Social Security law is changed to include POVs
1980 - Al Thieme received the United States Small Business Person of the Year award
1981 - 10,000th Amigo is built
1982 - Amigo Mobility is first recognized on the Inc. 500 list, no. 212
1987 - Rear wheel drive introduction expands mobility to outdoor terrain
1992 - Amigo receives the Michigan New Product Award
1999 - Introduction of the TravelMate; world’s first folding power operated vehicle/mobility scooter
2008 - Green Business Certified (Certified by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council as a woman-owned business by Beth Thieme)
2009 - Beth Thieme was named a Top Woman in Grocery
2009 - Amigo Mobility received the Best of the Best Michigan Business in Manufacturing award
2009 - Amigo Mobility named to the Inc. 5000 list, no. 2,717
2010 - Amigo Mobility named to the Inc. 5000 for the second year in a row, no. 3,450
2011 - Appeared on Fox Business' Stossel Show to raise awareness of wasteful Medicare spending in the mobility industry
2012 - Named Michigan Manufacturer of the Year by the Michigan Manufacturing Association
- Green Business Certified by the Institute for Green Certification
- NAPH (National Association of the Physically Handicapped) Certified