Published August 17, 2010
Volume 18, Number 8

Marzel’s Adds Space for Growing Customer Base  

Jennifer Milne of Marzel’s is pleased with the new, expanded
space for her business.

By Nicole Zaro Stahl

A fixture in Hacienda since 1998, Marzel's has evolved far beyond its original mission of selling lingerie and specialty garments for hard-to-fit women. In branching out, it made the logical progression of adding a full selection of care products for patients who have undergone any type of breast surgery, whether mastectomy, lumpectomy, reduction, or augmentation. The boutique continues to fit women who need plus-size bras, while also carrying nursing and maternity products. It is also a provider of compression therapy garments, which are prescribed for both men and women to control edema (swelling) and prevent scarring.

Most of these products require personalized attention from certified fitters, typically during a pre-scheduled appointment. To keep up with increasing customer volume, the retailer just completed an expansion into an adjacent suite, adding 750 square feet to its location at 5980 Stoneridge Drive.

“Everyone who comes here has a unique situation, and we want to make sure we can pay attention to their special needs,” observes Jennifer Milne, co-owner of the family business. Her mother, Georgette O'Brien, runs the Walnut Creek store, where Milne’s oldest daughter, a college student, works part-time. “We've been here for a long time, and people know how to find us. It was much easier to do a remodel than make the move to a new site.”

The expansion has added more “breathing space,” says Milne, one room dedicated exclusively to compression garment fitting, and two offices--one for her, one for billing. “In adding that area, we were also able to revamp existing space and create a second dressing room for our breast health patients, who are also customers for the swimsuits, bras, wigs, and headware that we offer.”

The private office is a real boon for Milne, who does dual-duty as a fitter and manager of the business. While fitting appointments are scheduled from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, the day is not over. First, there is the insurance paperwork to process. Then comes the ordering of prostheses and custom-made compression wear, which can get quite complex.

“Detailed information needs to be forwarded and must often be discussed with the companies that are making these products,” she explains. “One of the manufacturers is located in Germany, so there is the time difference to consider. We have to be very diligent about the way these orders are handled, supplying detailed measurements, sometimes even pictures.”

Milne also notes that Marzel's recently received American Board Certification in Orthotics and Prosthetics. “It is an honor to have that under our belt,” she comments. “There are not a lot of facilities in the United States to have earned that certification. You have to meet many requirements with regard to business policies, operating protocols, and so on. It might sound bureaucratic, but it ensures that our facility is safe, accessible for the handicapped, and has a qualified staff member on hand while we are open to customers.”

It is all part of the owners' desire to put their best foot forward for their customers, many of whom are experiencing feelings of vulnerability and uncertainty as they recover from serious illness. “Coming here can be difficult for them,” Milne observes, “so we try to see to their needs in a comfortable, upbeat way.”

For more information, visit www.marzels.com.

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