Wheel deal: Mobile showrooms offer 'rolling billboard'

Friday, February 21, 2014

HIGHLAND, Calif. – The staff at Palm Drug & Medical Supplies came up with an unusual solution to a common problem: to gain more exposure, they built a mobile showroom. 

“There are a lot of products out there people aren’t aware of, and it’s kind of hard to entice them to get in your door,” said Tom Battaile, president of Palm Drug. “We figured we’d come up with a way to take our business out to the customers.”

It worked so well, the company has created a spinoff, Custom Mobile Showrooms, to make the showrooms for other providers. Custom Mobile Showrooms coordinates the construction of turnkey, pull-behind showrooms, so all providers have to worry about is designing graphic wraps to cover the trailers. 

Palm Drug’s own showroom is a 20-foot cargo trailer with a cash register, lights, a marble-like floor, slat board walls and a flat-screen TV that plays promotional loops. Staff finished it off with a graphic wrap. 

“The wrap is like a rolling billboard,” said Battaile. “Every time we’re out and about, it’s very visible.”

For a little less than a year, Palm Drug’s mobile showroom has been visiting health fairs, farmers’ markets, senior centers and assisted living facilities. Curious customers find gear they might not have known about, including extended shoehorns and other assistive living devices to make the day easier, Battaile said. 

Although Palm Drug sold a power wheelchair at the first health fair they attended with the mobile showroom, the benefit so far is mostly visibility, Battaile said.

“That was wonderful the first time out, but it’s not the norm,” he said. “We’ve sold smaller things, but I think the exposure is a bigger part of it than the actual sales we’re making off the showroom.”