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Ex-office supply executive taking new venture to the Max


Former OfficeMax chairman and ceo Michael Feuer and Jared Florian, founder and chairman of Universal Screen Arts, a catalog and Internet company specializing in gifts, home decor, books and senior healthcare products, plan to launch a new retail concept focused on health care next year called Max-Wellness.

Feuer and Florian expect the first units to open early next year in Cleveland and in Fort Myers and Naples, Fla. Their vision for Max-Wellness is to create a national chain that provides products and services that help aging Baby Boomers live well and stay well.

“You’ve never seen anything like it before, because there has never been anything like it before,” proclaims a Max-Wellness brochure.

The concept is positioned as a destination for all things health and wellness related, and stores will reportedly range in size from 6,000 square feet to 10,000 square feet, and will offer between 30,000 and 40,000 items. Some will include pharmacies and the merchandise assortment will consist of supplements, sports nutrition, vitamins, health and beauty care products, personal healthcare items, homeopathic products and self care items.

After the first units launch, a national rollout will commence in 2010 with the addition of 10 to 15 stores, followed by 30 to 50 units in subsequent years.

Initial funding will come from Feuer and Florian, neither of whom has experience in the health care field, a fact that actually could work in their favor as they look to reinvent the retail healthcare experience from a clean sheet of paper. Feuer’s lack of experience in the office products business didn’t stop him from founding OfficeMax in 1988 and building the company into a nearly 1,000-store chain with annual sales of approximately $5 billion. He left the company in 2003 after engineering its sale to Boise Cascade in a deal valued at $1.5 billion.

It remains to be seen whether Max-Wellness can find a customer base and achieve profitable sales and a growth trajectory comparable to that of OfficeMax. However, as was the case with the office products space in the late 1980s when OfficeMax was founded, the market for healthcare products and services is fragmented and poised for growth due to the affluent Baby Boom generation’s desire to live well and stay well.

“Max-Wellness will add drama, theater, organization and education information to the in-store, online and catalog equation, bringing products to life by translating what they are into how they can provide a solution,” stated the company.

Stores will be staffed by professionally-dressed and trained personnel, who will provide answers to consumers’ healthcare questions. “This will not be achieved by guesswork, but instead by utilizing technology put at the fingertips of every Max-Wellness associate to access healthcare solutions,” stated the company. “This will create an environment where Max-Wellness will quickly be established and recognized as the go-to store for better living.”

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