An Active Life that appeals to everyone

Friday, September 26, 2014

PORTLAND, Maine – Provider Jim Greatorex wanted to bust the stigma that you have to be ill to buy something from an HME store. 

The owner of Black Bear Medical has just completed a major rebranding of the store’s retail division, naming it This Active Life, giving it a new look and adding an e-commerce website offering goods to active people of all ages.

“We aren’t just looking at the senior market—we wanted a brand to appeal to everybody,” he said. “We hired a branding company to help us create a store experience where you could have seniors looking at safe-at-home products, athletes looking to perform better at their chosen sport or people who are injured, and everyday active people—who are all comfortable (in the store).”

Black Bear began tapping into the younger market in 2013, when it introduced a line of compression sportswear—sleeves, shorts and socks—as well as pain relief and hot and cold products.

Through This Active Life, consumers will find compression products, ankle and Achilles’ supports, medical-grade compression bike shorts, hiking socks and pain products next to off-the shelf orthotics and a full line of foot health products, as well as traditionally senior-dominated products.

While many of This Active Life’s products are on the e-commerce site, some aren’t, and that’s by design. 

“We’re looking at products that, first of all, have a niche, and then require some expertise to sell,” said Greatorex. “Either you need to be fitted, or we need to explain how to use a product and how it benefits you. It may be different from person to person, so you need trained personnel to appropriately place products with consumers.”

Greatorex is also looking for a retail space in southern New Hampshire, where he already has a complex rehab business.

“In looking at the landscape of our industry and the demand for products, we see the biggest growth opportunity as being in the retail line,” he said.