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‘A different niche’
With more senior projects coming on line, providers need to come up with strategies to differentiate themselves, especially as boomers move into the mix.
“We decided early on that we needed a different niche from other providers, and we focused on wellness,” said Michael Gould, president of SilverCrest Properties, which has five senior projects in the Twin Cities. “That’s what people want; it was a huge discovery for us.”
One of the stand-out features of Summit Place is the HydroWorx aquatic treadmill. For years, athletes from the Vikings, Wild, Twins and Timberwolves sports teams used the pool-treadmill at the senior complex because there was nothing like it elsewhere in the Twin Cities. “When I told my partners I wanted to buy [the $300,000 piece of equipment], they thought I was out of my mind,” Gould said.
Shirley Schaller, 76, lived in Eden Prairie and began using the gym at Summit Place well before she moved to the complex. “Everyone was so nice, and you really get to know people,” said Schaller. She was sold on the place and moved in a little over a year ago.
As boomers live longer, senior communities will likely see more residents like June Sweet. At 100, the retired St. Paul homemaker is accustomed to being asked her secret to aging gracefully. “I do my chair exercises three times a week,” she said. “It’s important to get your circulation going.”
Sweet moved to Summit Place five years ago. “I like all the people here,” she said. “We’re all in the same boat. We’re old.”
Janet Moore • 612-673-7752