From Bed Bath & Beyond to VGM

Sunday, February 27, 2011

WATERLOO, Iowa - The VGM Group has hired a retail veteran with experience at Bed Bath & Beyond to help members rev up their cash sales.

"We felt that it was important that the person we bring in to head up this effort have a strong retail background and no preconceived ideas of HME retailing," said Ron Bendell, president of VGM & Associates. "We believe this will offer a more out-of-the-box approach to developing a more successful program."

Rob Baumhover joined VGM last month as director of retail programs. During his 18-year retail career, he has opened stores throughout the Midwest for Hobby Lobby, Menards and Walmart, as well as Bed Bath & Beyond.

Since starting at VGM, Baumhover said, he's been studying retail product options and traveling around to meet with VGM members. So far, so good, he said.

"They know they need to do something different," he said. "They know retail is the way they need to go to prosper so they are open to ideas. They are excited."

Baumhover's also excited. Right off the bat he sees good retail opportunities in a number of areas related to what providers already offer. These include back massagers and other pain management products; pillows, sheets and similar products for patients struggling with sleep problems; and bath safety products, which, he says, HME providers are primed to sell.

"There's a huge market for bath safety," he said. "When I was at Bed Bath & Beyond, people would come in all the time and we couldn't help them."

While the HME industry is new to him, Baumhover said, "retail is retail."

"It is a challenge, but once I get out there and show folks how to do it, they'll see that it is not as hard as they think," he said.