Local Mobile Business Scores $40K Through SU Shore Hatchery Competition

Local Mobile Business Scores $40K Through SU Shore Hatchery Competition
Gavin Aquino and Sara Noyes Aquino of Atlantic Portable X-Ray earned $40,000 in the 20th round of Salisbury University's Philip E. and Carole R. Ratcliffe Shore Hatchery entrepreneurship competition. Submitted Photo

OCEAN CITY – The owners of an Ocean City-based business say a $40,000 award from the Salisbury University Shore Hatchery competition will allow them to expand mobile health care services on the Eastern Shore.

Earlier this month, Atlantic Portable X-Ray owners Gavin Aquino and Sara Noyes Aquino competed in the 20th round of Salisbury University’s Philip E. and Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation Shore Hatchery competition, securing one of the largest single-year funding amounts in the program’s history – $40,000. The entrepreneurs say the funding will allow the company to add ultrasound machines to its mobile imaging fleet.

“It’s cool to see our hard work pay off,” said Sara. “And the judges could see it’s a needed service in our area.”

In 2021, following the COVID-19 outbreak, the husband-and-wife team partnered with Sara’s father, Mike Noyes, to launch Atlantic Portable X-Ray, a mobile X-ray service for residents and facilities on the Eastern Shore. Seeing the need for accessible health care in a community with aging residents, the Aquinos decided to start their own business.

Simply put, Atlantic Portable X-Ray provides X-ray services to patients who prefer or require bedside or home health care. Sara said X-rays are then sent to a radiologist, read and returned in less than two hours.

“It’s more convenient, it’s a timesaver and it’s great for an aging population,” she said.

Atlantic Portable X-Ray not only provides services to private residences, but also nursing homes assisted living facilities, home health care agencies, private doctor practices, Coastal Hospice and more.

“We went from doing one X-ray a week, then we partnered with Coastal Hospice and they’ve become a wonder partner to us,” Sara explained. “Other home health agencies also hopped on board … It’s been a steady growth.”

Last year, Atlantic Portable X-Ray was named the 2022 Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce Small Business of  the Year award winner. And this year, the Aquinos were selected to compete in the 20th round of the Shore Hatchery, bi-annual business competition for mid-Atlantic startups.

Over the course of five months, the Aquinos spent hours developing a business plan, gathering financials and preparing exhibits, in the hopes of securing money for the company’s expansion efforts. On May 5, they made their pitch to Shore Hatchery judges.

“It’s just like the show ‘Shark Tank’ …,” Sara explained. “It was very nerve-wracking. Five months of work came down to 60 seconds.”

But the Aquinos’ hard work paid off. The $40,000 award to Atlantic Portable X-Ray represented nearly half of the prize pool for this spring’s competition.

“I was definitely surprised,” she said. “I thought if anything we would get half of our ask … It was a gift pretty much.”

Sara said she and her husband will use their $40,000 to purchase an ultrasound machine for the company’s mobile fleet. While the Aquinos are still in the preliminary stages of their expansion, they said they have plans to add more mobile imaging services to their business in the future.

“The Eastern Shore has historically needed more medical options,” Sara said. “We’re just happy to provide a service like this.”

More information on Atlantic Portable X-Ray can be found on the company’s website, www.apxray.com or by visiting the company’s social media pages.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.