At Home with Dealers

Company Name:
The Youcan Toocan Store

Location/Contact Info:
2223 S. Monaco Pkwy., Denver, CO 80222
Martha Hansen, founder and president 303-759-9525,
Bethany DeBerared, vice-president 303-819-2862,


Types of products sold:
ADL's, Lift Chairs, Mobility, Bath and Bedroom Safety, Incontinence

Size of Company:
10 employees

The Youcan Toocan Store prides itself on its cash and carry business, and that they are not dependent on insurance or reimbursement. The company considers its catalog and Web site as its best marketing tools. Home Health Products spoke with the company's Founder and President, Martha Hansen and the Vice-President, Bethany DeBerared.

Fun Fact: Youcan Toocan offers a catchy name and cookies. "We always have a variety of complimentary cookies for our customers and several years ago we were audited and FINED because we have to pay a usage tax on the cookies that we provide!"

Q: Tell us about your store set-up.
A: We are retail and we merchandise for retail. We offer comfortable, easy access in a 2,400 square foot location. We carry products for people with impaired vision or hearing, MS, Parkinsons, Arthritis, those who need ADL help with cooking, eating, etc. as well as bath safety, walkers and lift chairs. Our store is bright, colorful, and non-medical. We have a desk to practice using adaptive writing aids, a kitchen table to try utensils and plates, a reading section for low vision and a bed to try out cushions and bed canes. Everything we do centers around our tagline of "Live independently. Live well." Our focus and store set-up is around the whole person -- from help opening a door, to reading the newspaper with the correct magnifier to feeling safe in the bathroom.

Q: What about unusual or unique products?
A: We consider our business wide & shallow -- we have more than 1,200 different products in 11 categories. Some high-volume products include those that help with recovery from hip/knee/back surgeries, such as mobility products -- Superpole, Bedcane, walkers and liftchairs.

Q: What is working well for you?
A: Our growth has been more than 20 percent since the year 2000. We are cash and carry, offer a wide variety of products focused on independent living and we have a reputation for excellent customer service. In addition, most of our sales team are OT's or PT's or have extensive health care backgrounds and we have a good relationship with with local therapists and rehab centers.

Q: Describe a memorable relationship with a client.
A: We have an elderly customer on oxygen, whose wife has Alzheimer's disease. He started coming in over a year ago for incontinence pads for his wife. He comes in every two weeks and knows all of the sales team by name and addresses all of us as "Miss ___". Rather than stocking up or taking advantage of our delivery service, he comes in to buy two packs of pads every two weeks, enjoys a cookie and shares a little bit about what's happening with his wife.

Q: What about working with manufacturers?
A: Because our product line is unique, we deal with more than 75 vendors -- 10 are major vendors, but many are single product manufacturers. Acting as the liaison between a manufacturer and the client can be a challenge, with issues like quality control or product defects, but it's worth it!

Q: What is something you have learned from your experience in the HME industry?
A: The number of products available is overwhelming and we spend lots of time trying to keep up with all of the innovation.

Q: Do you think the HME industry is changing? What are some trends you have noticed?
A: Bariatrics/wellness and exercise-increasing focus on prevention and staying fit -- especially for baby boomers is a current trend. And the consolidation with HMO contracts/Medicare changes regarding home health is a big issue.

This article originally appeared in the April 2005 issue of HME Business.

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