School Health’s double-duty deal

With its April acquisition of sports medicine products cataloger/manufacturer Econoline, cataloger School Health Corp. has realized two goals: to increase the number of exclusive products it can offer in a highly competitive market, and to bolster its presence in the South.

With its School Health and Sports Health catalogs, which target school health administrators and school and professional athletic directors respectively, the $20 million School Health Corp. has a total catalog circulation of 150,000. The company also has a 10-person field sales team to help sell products such as automatic defibrillators, vision and hearing screening instruments, and medical record-keeping software.

“We saw an opportunity to grow our sports medical business by acquiring a manufacturer,” says Rob Rogers, vice president of new business for the Hanover Park, IL-based cataloger. Although about half of the products in School Health’s two titles overlap, the Sports Health book, with its emphasis on sports medicine, will be the major beneficiary of the acquisition. Because the $4 million Econoline produces at least 200 products that Sports Health didn’t previously carry, the catalog will be able to broaden its product line.

Heading South As for Charlotte, NC-based Econoline, prior to the sale, the company sent out catalogs to customers primarily in the southeastern U.S. But its new parent company plans to dispatch some of its field salespeople to sell Econoline products in both the South and the Midwest. “You need more than just the catalog to really win this business,” Rogers says. “The Southeast is a growing area, and it tends to be strong in sports.” Plus, he adds, “the pro baseball teams go to Florida for spring training.”

Econoline customers have already begun to receive School Health and Sports Health catalogs, which are circulated nationally, turning Econoline instantly into a national marketer, says former Econoline owner John Miller, who is now president of the Sports Health and Econoline divisions. The previously 40-page Econoline catalog will be replaced by a 10-12 page book that will sell only Econoline-produced merchandise.

“The real benefit is that now Econoline customers can shop at a one-stop shop,” Miller says. “Before, we offered 3,000 products in our catalogs, 10% of which we manufactured; School Health and Sports Health now offer our customers 5,000-6,000.”

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