AmeriCare ready for retail, again

Monday, July 25, 2011

TROY, Mich. - When it comes to retail, location is important.

So when AmeriCare Medical decided to re-enter the retail market, they went right to the source: the hospital lobby.

"It's very difficult to create demand for home medical equipment," said Greg Jamian, president and CEO. "People either need it or they don't. We felt that we could ensure our success by being strategically located, where the patient is right there."

AmeriCare had two retail-specific locations, in the past, but closed them due to the expense and service intensive nature of operating a retail location.

The new 900-square foot Sun Medical Supply--AmeriCare's HME division--is situated in the "retail corridor" of St. Joseph Mercy Oakland Hospital, which just completed a major renovation. The design is patient-friendly and upscale--important for the area's wealthy demographic, said Jamian, who worked closely with architects to create the space. 

That attention to detail applied to inventory, too.

"We were very picky about the vendors we brought in," said Jamian. "They could have the best product, but if the packaging wasn't up to par with our look, it was rejected."

The store stocks off-the-shelf orthotics, ADLs, bath safety items and wheelchairs, along with items like nursing coats and stethoscopes.

The 32-year-old AmeriCare is the parent company of Sun Medical, AmeriStaff Nursing and Rx iV Infusion Pharmacy. The company does about $12 million in annual sales, of which Medicare comprises about 55%.

Although the Internet and big-box stores like Walmart have changed the retail landscape, Jamian said he is not as concerned about that competition as he was a few years ago.

"People would come into our store, ask questions and then leave and buy it cheaper (elsewhere)," he said. "They are getting burned when someone sells them the products and that's it. The service stops there. They want that service we provide."