Retail? Time for 'The Next Step'

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Mike Kuller has spent the past two years nurturing his retail DME business. Along the way, he’s experienced his share of success—and failure. In November, Kuller, founder and president of Allstar Medical Supplies in Concord, Calif., will publish “The Next Step,” which offers advice and details Kuller’s experience. Kuller spoke with HME News recently about why he thinks it’s time for providers to jump into retail with both feet.

HME News: Why did you decide to write a book?

Mike Kuller: I am afraid the Medicare DME industry like we know it is not going to exist after a couple of years. Retail is one of the few places where the barrier of entry is easy and it’s something a lot of people already have a start in.

HME: Give us a feel for what’s in the book.

Kuller: It’s organized by topic: What to do first, how to find a space—and here are the things I went through for finding a space. There’s a chapter on hiring staff and the things that worked, etc.

HME: Are marketing and advertising covered?

Kuller: It’s very different than where you have outside sales people calling on discharge planners. In this business, we are appealing to the general public. You have to take advantage of media—phone books, newspapers, Internet. How do you balance all that and come up with an advertising budget?

HME: What’s your best advice?

Kuller: What I have seen so may people try to do is take their warehouse, Medicare-driven business in the light industrial area and carve out part of that as a retail space. It’s not where people go to shop. If you want to do it right, you’ve got to take it to a retail area and rent some expensive space and figure out how you are going to get customers to come in. That’s the big step.