A Van Nuys company that caters to people with diabetes has opened an Oxnard center that sells food, medical supplies and limited health services to those who suffer from the disease.
The SugarFree Center, which opened Tuesday at 1811-B Ventura Blvd., will serve as a resource center for the estimated 60,000 diabetics living in Ventura County, company Vice President Dan Chilton said.
“Many of the employees have diabetes, so they’ve had to live with the disease themselves,” said Chilton, who said his wife of 22 years has diabetes. “The rest have been through extensive diabetic-education programs.”
For Pat Levin, a Ventura woman diagnosed with diabetes eight years ago, the opening on Tuesday means an end to commuting an hour to buy higher-priced supplies.
“It’s good to know I have a place I can come and find some of these things,” she said, mulling over the selection of chocolates and gumdrops made for diabetics. “There’s no reason you need to be deprived of certain things if they can make them without sugar and honey.”
The company chose to locate a store in Oxnard because the community’s population includes those at high risk for the disease.
“There is a high incidence of diabetes in this portion of Ventura County,” Chilton said. “And you’ve also got a lot of retirement-age people and a high Hispanic population.”
Latinos, who make up about 25% of the county’s population, face the highest risk of developing diabetes, health officials say. More than 24,000 already have the disease, according to the American Diabetes Assn.