Reinventing Kare

Friday, April 24, 2015

MAGNOLIA, N.J. – It’s not enough for Seth Auerbach, the president and owner of Komfort & Kare, to do retail. He wants to “reinvent the experience.”

Auerbach swapped his old location for a new location in February, giving it the same attention to detail as an Apple store or a Starbucks coffee shop, with help from the Architectural Fabrication Group, which designed the furnishings, lighting, retail display stands and graphics.

“We wanted to stand out,” he said. “We didn’t want to look to the DME industry as an example of what to do. Historically, DME grew out of pharmacy, and that’s not a very warm and comforting environment.”

A former Advanced Auto Parts store, the 7,000-square-foot new location now features, for example, an exterior with stonework and an interior with dark wood.

In addition to a sophisticated look, the new location features areas for customers to test products—like a track for scooters and wheelchairs, and a staircase for stair glides—and a learning center for them to meet with staff, Auerbach says.

“There’s an unfortunate trend in health care, whether it’s hospitals or physicians, to reduce the time spent with patients,” he said. “We want to do the exact opposite. We wanted a place to really sit down with someone going through breast cancer to talk them through the various options.”

Komfort & Kare has been promoting its new location through its contact database of more than 20,000 and through local advertising, Auerbach says.

The new location is also getting attention from an unlikely source: nursing agencies, Auerbach says.

“They can use our learning center for a seminar and we get more people into our store,” he said. “It’s a wonderful synergistic relationship.”

Even before the move to the new location, Komfort & Kare was doing about 40% of its business in retail, Auerbach says, up from 20% a few years ago. He expects that number to continue to grow.

“We’re not a competitive bidding supplier,” he said. “Even with all the challenges with this business, we’ve been able to adapt.”