No Pain, Big Gain

Time To Hit Med School?

If you're considering opening a back store, you may wonder if, given the health problems that drive potential customers to these stores, medical expertise is required to satisfy the needs of customers as well as avoid legal trouble if one of your products injures a customer. The answer, according to Schatz, is no. "We're not doctors, and we don't pretend to be, but if we see someone with a very bad back, we tell him or her to go see a doctor," she says. "We're very careful about that."

Mazlish says that while his employees don't offer customers medical advice, they do receive training from a physical therapist to help them better serve clients. "Customers expect a high level of service and expertise, but we are certainly no substitute for a doctor's care," he says. "We are, however, very fluent in the language of back pain."

As far as legal trouble associated with back-support products go: "We've never had a lawsuit as a result of a product," says Schatz. "JoAnne's Bed & Back has an exchange policy to ensure customer satisfaction. In fact, we actually have a scrapbook of letters from people we've helped."

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This article was originally published in the September 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: No Pain, Big Gain.

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