Michael Feuer takes everything to the max. After starting OfficeMax in 1988 with $20,000 of his own money and growing it to more than 1,000 locations, he sold it in December 2003. He followed that by forming a venture capital firm, Max-Ventures, to develop new retail concepts, including his own, Max-Wellness. He also began sharing his knowledge on successful business practices through lectures and his column for Smart Business magazine, which led to publishing a business leadership book, The Benevolent Dictator.
Feuer also is active on corporate and nonprofit boards focused on health care, including the strategic planning and marketing committee for NCH Healthcare Systems. He’s working on two new books, a sequel to his business book and a novel with corporate intrigue.
Max-Wellness grew out of his own interest in fitness and experience serving on health-care boards. Believing that the current health-care environment will result in consumers having to take care of themselves, he wanted to create a resource for promoting wellness.Feuer put one of his first stores 10 minutes from his Naples winter home so he could pop in and observe customers. “Starting a business from scratch is much like working in a laboratory in that you have to test techniques and presentations,” he says. He has opened other stores in Florida and Cleveland, Ohio; launched a website; and in the spring, will launch Wellness-in-a-Box to provide travel wellness products in airports.
His biggest contribution to wellness was becoming a successful bone marrow donor for his brother. “It’s a strange but wonderful feeling to think that I could make a difference of this magnitude,” he says.