The Duncan Banner

July 21, 2013

Duncan Group Homes, Power Shop to merge

Derrick Miller
The Duncan Banner

DUNCAN — In order to better serve their clients — many of whom are the same people — Power Shop and Duncan Group Homes are merging.

The merger has been in the works for a few months, as boards for both agencies have discussed and negotiated details of the merger. The directors of both agencies, Tammy Loyd with the Power Shop and Robin Arter with Duncan Group Homes, have been meeting regularly to discuss what they want to accomplish through the merger.

For both of them, the primary goal is to meet the needs of their clients.

“There are a lot of things we can do together,” Loyd said. “Duncan Group Homes deals with things in their home life. Power Shop deals within things that give them independence in a work life. On our own, neither one of us can meet all of their needs. But together, we can.”

The merger came about for economic reasons, Arter said. Because the two agencies have some similar functions and serve many of the same people (those with developmental disabilities), the merger will help funding for the future.

“It makes for a stronger (financial) backbone,” Arter said of the merger. “We do a lot of the same thing. We serve the same people.”

Loyd said the merger wouldn’t negatively impact the funding for either agency. Both get the majority of their funding from the state, and she doesn’t see the amount of money changing.

In fact, there would be more money to stretch for the two merged agencies because there would be resources to share. And each director has her own contacts she could share, whether its Loyd’s contacts through the Duncan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, or Arter’s contacts through the Duncan Chisholm Trail Kiwanis Club, which was the result of a civic merger, too. All employees from both agencies will retain their jobs. Loyd and Arter hope to create more jobs through various programs, including a day-care center for teenagers with developmental disabilities.

Duncan Group Homes employees 108 people in Duncan and Ardmore, and the Power Shop employees 48 people. There are hopes to increase the benefits employees will be able to get. The final board will be made up of board members from the two current boards.

“We should have done this a long time ago,” Arter said. The Power Shop formed in 1980, and Duncan Group Homes formed in 1982, as an offshoot of the Power Shop. Arter said the two agencies shared a building for years, until both outgrew the building and needed their own space.

Arter said things have come full circle, going back to where they began more than 30 years ago. So far, a name hasn’t be selected for the agency formed from the merger, but she said this is a decision they can’t rush into because it will be the identity they have to stick with.

The merger has already been announced to the state. This is one of three similar mergers happening in Oklahoma.

This is also the second merger for Duncan Group Homes. Previously, the agency merged with and absorbed Hope Community Services in Ardmore.

Loyd said there are many ideas coming from this new merger, but the two agencies will continue many of the same services they have been known for. The Power Shop will continue its screen printing program, Power Print, which has become a staple of the agency since it was added in 2000.

Arter and Loyd are also learning more about what each agency does. They are finding similarities and differences to address any issues that may arise.

Arter said they are encouraging people to “find the negative” to help them make the transition smoother. So far, no one has found anything they didn’t like in the merger, she said.

“It’s exciting,” Arter said. “We’re taking this as an opportunity to pick the best of both agencies.”