Respirators Inc. enters retail HME market

Saturday, December 31, 2005

NEW YORK - Respirators Inc., which has made a name for itself on the Internet by providing respirators, antiseptic wipes and other products to combat avian bird flu concerns, jumped into the HME market with a new sister Web site in late November.
The site,, features thousands of HME products grouped into dozens of categories--everything from wound care to respiratory to scooters, said Howard Ryan, a managing partner at Respirators.
"We've proven that we can wrap our arms around a particular set of products and market and ship them properly," he said. "[HME] is a horizontal niche. In some cases, you could qualify a number of the products we already sell as medical-related products. They all have a medical overtone to them. It's not like we're trying to sell bicycles or vacation tour packages."
Before launching the site, Respirators inked a deal with the Holliston, Mass.-based Invacare Supply Group, giving the New York-based Internet company access to some 7,200 Invacare products. Per the deal, Respirators agreed to buy a certain number of products in exchange for better pricing.
The deal is like hundreds of other deals, said Randy Lowenberg, a sales manager with Invacare Supply Group who oversees the Respirators Inc. contract.
It allows Respirators to tap into not only countless products but also Invacare Supply Group's marketing materials, such as catalogues, said Greg Bosco, director of merchandising and marketing for Invacare Supply Group.
"We're not just another pretty face in the crowd," he said. "We help these people develop their businesses."
The deal provides Invacare Supply Group with an additional sales and distribution channel, Lowenberg and Bosco said.
As part of the launch, Respirators debuted a new marketing program whereby affiliates--anyone from a physician group to a construction company--post the company's banner on their own Web sites. At the end of the month, the affiliates receive 5% of the total sales generated through the link. If total sales exceed $1,000, they receive 10%, Ryan said.
The marketing program extends to both and

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