Cherri Lolley left her career as a nurse to become a full-time caregiver to her daughter, Emily, who was born with multiple disabilities.
That eventually inspired her to create CherriCare — a local company that specializes in medical equipment and more — in October of 1997.
With a background in nursing, it didn’t take long for Lolley to realize that Emily needed more care and attention than was being provided. That laid the groundwork for what would become CherriCare.
“She had multiple disabilities and I struggled to look for answers as to why she was that way. I learned quickly that wasn’t the issue,” she said. “Through Emily, I was able to form some strong support groups and meet some incredible people that were struggling with the same issues.”
Emily died in 2019, but her and her mother’s efforts through CherriCare ensure that her legacy will continue.
“She was born in 1994 and I was working at the hospital at the time. I was fortunate enough to have a boss that allowed me to bring her to work with me,” Lolley said. “After three years of having to leave town to find specialty items and other services, I decided it was time to bring something to Owensboro. Emily was with me every step of the way.”
The company called the Thatch Shopping Center their home for 23 years, but an evolving business plan led to a change in location in 2020. In the midst of the pandemic, they moved to 401 Bolivar Street. — across from Sts. Joseph and Paul Catholic Church on Fourth Street.
CherriCare offers everything from mobility equipment and home medical equipment to women’s and compression wear.
“We relied heavily on word of mouth,” Lolley said. “We’ve moved to a retail model over the past few years to stay afloat. The corporations are constantly trying to buy us out, but we find value in providing that personalized experience.”
They pride themselves on offering the most advanced technologies and customer care to make life easier for people. Their products are available for rent or purchase and are designed for elder care, women’s needs, individuals with disabilities, and more.
CherriCare features a staff of eight, all of which serve the company in a variety of ways.
“We have a lot of experience here, several of them have a lot of experience in the medical field,” Lolley said. “They are smart and they truly care. We are all here to help people the best we can without overselling. My staff is great at choosing the right thing for the right person.”
The daughter of missionaries, Lolley spent her entire childhood in Southeast Africa before moving to the states at the age of 18 to attend college. Lolley attributes much of her success to her humble beginnings.
“I learned from my parents who were natural caregivers that we’re in this world to help one another, no matter what continent we live on,” she said. “We are so privileged to live in this great nation and have access to clean water, and services that we often take for granted.”
Following graduation, Lolley worked as a nurse at Baptist Mount Claire in Birmingham, Alabama, before moving to Owensboro to begin a new life. She and her husband have four boys and one girl, and they find great value in the Owensboro community.
Lolley maintains involvement with Girls Inc and Wendell Foster’s Campus for Developmental Disabilities. In 2012 she received the Girls Inc. Athena Award, given to individuals in the community that have achieved excellence in their business and assisted women in developing their leadership potential.
“Owensboro is a kind community where individuals will slow down and help one another,” she said. “This is the longest I’ve ever lived anywhere. Owensboro has been my home since 1987 and I’m very thankful for this community that looks out for one another.”
By John Kirkpatrick The Owensboro Times