Jim Greatorex beats retail drum

Thursday, August 5, 2010

PORTLAND, Maine - Provider Jim Greatorex already rings up about $1.5 million dollars in retail sales per year at his locations in Portland and Bangor, but he has no plans to stop there.

Greatorex, president of Black Bear Medical, plans to add a mattress line from Clarkston, Mich.-based Sleep & Wellness Centers to his product mix this summer, a move that he hopes will give a "significant boost" to his retail sales.

"We like the other stuff we provide, but Medicare's ruining it for us," he said. "So we're going to be all about retail."

Greatorex came across the mattresses, which are custom designed to treat symptoms like chronic back pain, at The Heartland Conference in June. The mattresses are available exclusively to members of The VGM Group.

To get the word out about the mattresses, Greatorex has hired an additional sales rep, "a real go-getter."

"We're going to hit doctors' offices, pain clinics, the cancer center--there are several places to go to educate referral sources on where they can send patients with these symptoms," he said.

Greatorex plans to showcase seven of the mattresses at his location in Portland.

"That will give customers a good sense for the line," he said. "At first, we probably won't keep many in stock, but after we get going, we'll keep the best movers in the warehouse."

The mattresses, which, for a queen size, range in price from $999 to $3,000, are a "natural match" for HME providers, says Wendell Martens, managing member of Sleep & Wellness Centers.

"They help to create a continuum of care for patients and improve their quality of life by minimizing their pain and aiding in their recovery," he said.

Greatorex also plans to add a shoe line with coil springs this summer.

"We're kind of excited about these two lines," he said. "We're looking ahead to surviving Armageddon if it comes."