Anew Life Prosthetics and Orthotics founder Chris Casteel spent a lot of time driving around Detroit looking for “something that would work for us.” Then he came across a sale sign on a building at the corner of Woodward and Milwaukee … the Albert Kahn-designed original Savings Bank #3 in the New Center area.
The Roby family of “Roby’s Shoes” owned the building. The Roby’s have been great stewards of the building and wanted a business like ours in the neighborhood. All later Albert Kahn banks were modeled after this style and replicated several times throughout the city of Detroit.
Casteel and co-founder Paul Cauley opened the Anew Life Prosthetics and Orthotics in the renovated building on October 17 after serving Detroit-area people in need of their products with its mobile operation for the last three years. Cauley and Casteel created the company in 2011 from the ground up from what was originally a graduate project.
Casteel, who had a background in manufacturing and was attending Eastern Michigan University, teamed up with 20-year veteran of patient care in the orthotics and prosthetics, Cauley. Casteel had advocated for people missing limbs, since he himself became an amputee in 1988, making the match a perfect fit.
Having had experience with how stressful visiting an orthotist or prosthetist can be, Casteel had a goal to provide first-rate care with dignity when he graduated from EMU in 2009. It became clear Detroit was an underserved marked as the pair’s customer base grew. This led to the realization that they needed a central location. A site on Woodward became their new home.
The duo was aided along the way. Tax credits and incentives were provided by the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, Midtown, Inc. and the Detroit City Council.
Creating a symbiosis, they got involved in the community with connections to with Detroit Street Medicine, Detroit’s Chapter of Burners Without Borders and several others. Also making sure to hire people who live in the city, they have implanted themselves into the community.
“We want to thank everyone who helped us along the way…” says Casteel, “and to show that despite all the odds, not only were we able to ‘make it’ but we also managed to preserve a piece of Detroit’s history. But most importantly, we want to let people in the community know that we are here for them, ultimately, that is what we are here for: To serve this community.”
Their mission is to help those with limb loss or diminished use of limbs achieve maximum independence and functionality by using custom prostheses and orthotics that are designed to meet their specific needs. Anew Life Prosthetics and Orthotics is currently accepting new patients. They also provide home visits as needed and accept same-day appointments (based on availability).