Owner Stories: Joel Goldenberg, Business Owner, Premier Ostomy Centre, Montreal, Quebec
We’ve known Joel Goldenberg and his father Nat for about 20 years, getting to know them through our community sports programs and then as clients of 10|20 Marketing. In business since the 90s, Premier Ostomy Centre has become to the go-to for ostomy supplies in Quebec.
Our interview with Joel is below. Let us know your thoughts in the comments. Also, make sure to read our Local Business Owner Spotlight series. Also, remember to support local businesses in any way you can while these physical distancing restrictions are in place.
10|20 Marketing: Hi, Joel! Thank you for agreeing to participate in our spotlight series. Let’s get started by having you describe your business, Premier Ostomy Centre.
Joel Goldenberg: Premier Ostomy Centre is a family-run medical supply store. As most of our customers have health issues, customer service is our number one priority. We make sure our clients’ needs are met in every way. We sell all medical products, including, but not limited to, ostomy bags and supplies, catheters and accessories, mobility aids, bathroom equipment, compression stockings and more. In addition to our brick and mortar store on Côte des Neiges, we also have a transactional website to help our clients.
10|20 Marketing: How long have you been in business? Can you discuss how your store started and evolved over the years?
Joel Goldenberg: My father started the business in the late 1990s. My Dad had a small pharmacy and started to have a significant demand for ostomy supplies. He decided to open a second business in the pharmacy as a medical supply store. I joined him about ten years after he opened with the idea of expanding the business. We started carrying other medical products, with catheters and supplies being our most important addition. I started visiting remote areas of the province to bring product expertise to underserved cities. We have since moved into our current location, which doubled our space and finishing an expansion. We have also diversified and are now distributors and importers for specialized products. However, our original goals and principals remain the same. We provide excellent customer service, have a very knowledgeable staff and provide fair and competitive pricing.
10|20 Marketing: What are some of the approaches you’ve taken to grow your customer base? Do you actively run marketing programs?
Joel Goldenberg: Our business relies a lot on referrals. Our best marketing is offering the best service we can. That’s how we get so many referrals from health professionals and current clients. We do other marketing as well. We advertise in local support group journals and nurse publications. We have an active presence on Facebook and are trying to be more active on other social media platforms. But I will always believe that offering good service and treating people with kindness and respect is the best marketing you can do.
10|20 Marketing: We agree, Joel! How has the business been since the pandemic hit? How have you been coping?
Joel Goldenberg: It has been interesting, to say the least, since the pandemic started. First, we had significant panic buying from our clients, so we were insanely busy. We also had so many calls for masks and other PPE that we couldn’t access. Then things quieted down as may of our clients had stocked up. Staffing has been an issue as our customer service team had to stop working. Most have young kids and needed to stay home with them. I finally have some staff back working from home, which poses many other challenges. We had to slightly reduce our opening hours, so I didn’t burn out the rest of the staff. For the most part, the supply chain has held up, and we have been getting our products as usual. I have even managed to find stock on most PPE items at fair and reasonable pricing.
10|20 Marketing: Final question, Joel. As a seasoned business owner of a retail location, what advice do you have for others in your shoes as they deal with this new normal?
Joel Goldenberg: That’s a good question. First off, I would say, don’t panic. Take your time before making any decisions and think them through. Another crucial thing is to take care of your staff. You need happy and productive employees, so you need to consider them when making any decisions. It is also essential to plan ahead. You need to try and figure out what’s going to be required over the next few months and try to be ready for anything. We have gone through many scenarios, and I continue to do so each day. There is nothing worse than being unprepared.
10|20 Marketing: Great advice, Joel! I appreciate your time and participation in our series!
Joel Goldenberg: My pleasure! Thanks for having me!
This interview is part of our Local Business Owner Spotlight series. If you’re interested in having your business highlighted, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you’re interested in a free online small business marketing consultation, we’re happy to set up a time to discuss your situation as well.