New retail HME in capable hands

Monday, October 31, 2005

AURORA, Colo. - Herbal teas, lotions and aromatherapy products side-by side with power wheelchairs, lifts and electric door openers?
It's not your grandparents' HME.
"We're a DME on steroids," said Pam Pressel, CEO and cofounder of Capabilities, a new 10,000-square-foot retail HME. About half of the store's space is showroom. DME, wound care, incontinence and orthopedics comprise 60% of the inventory, while exercise equipment and holistic products make up the rest.
Pressel describes her target market as leading edge baby boomers, as well as traditional DME patients. Nearly a third of America's 78 million baby boomers are over 50, and they have the disposable income to buy what they want.
Pressel is a baby boomer herself with 25 years of experience in nursing services, DME and respiratory. Her business partner, Kathryn Arbour, is a former corporate executive who serves as company president.
"It's fine to have something functional, but all of us who are boomers have grown up with a sense of design and choice and style," said Arbour. "That hasn't exactly totally penetrated the world of durable medical equipment yet."
Arbour sees opportunity in the changing insurance landscape for providers.
"The idea of retail and cash sales is still an emerging aspect of the HME and DME world," said Arbour. "The insurance world is shrinking, and they're covering less and less. Boomers no doubt are going to be very different shoppers as we continue the aging process.
"Who wants the headaches and the hassles of all the insurance stuff?" she asked.