Equipped hits 'milestone'

Sunday, September 30, 2007

HAGERSTOWN, Md. - Equipped for Life hit $1 million in retail sales last year, and the provider, which also does Medicare, Medicaid and private-pay business, has no plans to stop there.
Equipped for Life opened a new location this summer that more than doubled its square footage from 6,000 to 14,000 square feet. The new location, about a mile from its old location, gives the provider room to boost its selection of retail products to include items like uniforms.
"We've been big on retail for a long time, but last year was a big year," said Mark Ellis, director of Equipped for Life.
The new location features wider aisles that "allow people to actually shop," different rooms like a bedroom that feature relevant products and a more accessible parking lot, Ellis said.
Equipped for Life has three more retail locations, but the new location is the first to showcase all products under one roof, Ellis said.
The provider's retail business picked up speed several years ago, when it changed its name and launched a multi-media advertising campaign that included billboards and infomercials, Ellis said.
"Our industry, as a whole, is way behind the times, in terms of advertising directly to consumers," he said.
Retail sales now comprise about 30% of Equipped for Life's revenues.
Industry consultant Jack Evans called $1 million in retail sales "quite a milestone."
"To make retail a focus, you really need a highly visible location with a beautiful showroom, and you need to advertise," said Evans, president of Global Media Marketing in Malibu, Calif. "Basically, you need to run your business like a regular retail business."