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Startup Snapshot: FOOTBAR Walker

Get to know the startups and entrepreneurs changing the Tennessee landscape — designing innovative solutions, creating jobs, and building communities. This week, meet Paris couple Nancy and Gary Morris, med-device founders and Elvis fans.

Nancy and Gary Morris at the June 2019 opening of the FOOTBAR Walker storefront in Paris, TN

Give us your elevator pitch.
The FOOTBAR® Walker is designed to aid a patient to sit or stand while also protecting the health of the caregiver. The design consists of a top bar and retractable foot bar, which allows the caregiver to utilize their body weight to counterbalance the patient’s weight and pulling force when shifting into a sitting or standing position. The FOOTBAR® Walker benefits the patient by allowing them to sit or stand under their own power without tugging, lifting, and pulling from the caregiver. The caregiver benefits by using their own body weight to assist the patient to a sitting or standing position.

Briefly, what inspired you to start your company?
We identified a need for a device that would aid our friends George and Peggy White. George, age 88 and a WWII veteran, was recovering from a third hip replacement and other health difficulties. His wife Peggy, 86, was striving to take care of him alone at home. She had difficulty helping George to sit or stand using his walker. Noticing the toll it was taking on Peggy’s health and the imminent admittance of George into a nursing care facility, we decided to design something to help: a customized walker.

We designed a top bar to function as a pull bar for the patient and a counter bar for the caregiver. A retractable foot bar would allow the caregiver to utilize their body weight by counteracting the patient’s weight and pulling force. Both attachments are factory installed to a standard walker.

The FOOTBAR® Walker allowed the Whites to stay at home together an additional four years. Friends who saw the benefit of the device asked where they could purchase one for themselves. Seeing the need, and with the Whites’ encouragement, the Morrises applied for a patent and trademark for the FOOTBAR® Walker, which they received in 2017.

What’s your secret sauce?
The FOOTBAR® Walker benefits the health of both the patient and caregiver. There’s a financial benefit, as well: the Whites estimated they saved $192,000 in those four years — not to mention the additional time together in their home.

If your company had a theme song, what would it be?
Walk a Mile in My Shoes — Elvis Presley

Date founded
Feb. 13, 2017

Home city
Paris, TN

Number of employees
2