Provider shrinks concept

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

CLEVELAND - Retail giant Michael Feuer is thinking small these days. 

This summer, he plans to launch the first Mini-Max, a 600-square-foot store version of his Max-Wellness retail stores that will be located in the lobby of a local acute care hospital, Lake Health's West Medical Center in Willoughby, Ohio.

"You've got to be where the customers are," said Feuer, who sits on the board of several hospitals. "Where we are going, 1,000 people a day walk by. That's much higher than the typical retail."

The Mini-Max will carry a variety of products aimed at furthering the patient's recovery, like bandages, antiseptics or exercise bands.

A Mini-Max staffer can also work with the patient and hospital staff to order items not stocked at the location--ideally, ahead of discharge--so that needed items are ready to go when the patient is.

"We are going to be able to match the product to the need," said Feuer. "It's a lot more convenient. If you're getting ready to leave the hospital you don't want to be running around getting all of these things."

Other potential customers include patient visitors, caregivers and hospital staffers. 

Feuer also plans to locate Mini-Max at other types of healthcare facilities, such as urgent care facilities and rehabilitation centers. Products would be tailored to the facility type.

Additionally, Feuer is  developing "Wellness-in-a-Box," which will work much like a vending machine to dispense health and wellness products. He would ultimately like to see "Wellness-in-a-Box" located in urgent care centers, senior living facilities and even airports.

Feuer founded office supply superstore OfficeMax, which he sold in 2003 for $1.5 billion. He returned to retail in 2010 with Max-Wellness.

"We like to think we are doing good and getting people the right stuff," he said. "It's the darndest thing. If you take care of the patient, you win yourself."