Part 2 of my Interview with Jim Coppins, VP of Infinite Therapeutics

October 17, 2012
 By Dr. Alan Weidner
October 17, 2012
 By Dr. Alan Weidner

Part 2 of my Interview with Jim Coppins, VP of Infinite Therapeutics

Transcript of Video Titled “Interview with Jim Coppins VP at Infinite Therapeutics (Part Two)”

Dr. Alan Weidner: Now, the IT-8500 also has this, and you’re calling it the ‘TrueGrip V-Stretch,’ now on the 8200, it’s a little obscure, but when you push the ‘Extend’ program, I understand that is what gives you the stretch on the 8200. How is this stretch going to be different, is it pretty much just the airbags in the shoulders pulling back while the chair, while you’re being stretched?

Jim Coppins: Exactly. It allows for – the IT-8200 has a very similar ‘Stretch’ feature, but as it performs the ‘Stretch’ function, your upper body has the ability – most of the ‘Stretch’ functionality is the ability for the chair to grab your legs, your calf, and your Achilles …

Alan: Right.

Jim: … as you’ve felt, and draw you out. Unfortunately, if your upper body slides down the chair or has any movement, we’re losing the overall ‘Stretch’ feature. The grip, the shoulder grip, allows the ‘Stretch’ function, but without any movement. Obviously, if you pull on something, and it slides from the other end, you’ve lost the ‘Stretch’ functionality …

Alan: Right. Right.

Jim: … when you stretch with the legs and the feet, and now you’re holding the upper torso in place, the stretch is magnified.

Alan: Yeah. And it is intense, I’ve sat on another model or two that have had that kind of a grip on the upper extremities. And man, it’s intense dude, it really, it feels like you’re going to pulled apart. Of course, that’s an exaggeration, it never happens, but you feel that way, and you almost guard, protecting yourself, because the stretch is so intense until you’re accustomed to it, and then you can relax, but I like it. I like that kind of stretch, it’s intense.

Jim: Absolutely.

Alan: Now, one of the things on the 8200 is I don’t really sense that you can change the intensity of the roller. As a matter a fact, I think I may have even asked this, about that to Mike or Kirk, but the intensity of the roller is not adjustable, at least that’s my take on it. Is that a feature that’s in the 8500, can you adjust the intensity of the rollers, not the airbags, but the rollers?

Jim: No, you can’t is the short answer. There’s a few ways that, within the different programs – obviously, a ‘Kneading’ is more aggressive than a ‘Tapping’ or a ‘Shiatsu’ – so there’s a few different flavors of what the back roller mechanisms can accomplish to hopefully meet everybody’s, you know, personal flavors and needs. We also have – we’re going to be launching, based on this question or this concern, we currently don’t have an extra padding system, you probably realize the 9800 does have that. There’s the main pad, like is on the 82 and the 8500, and behind that there’s an optional, extra pad that you can place behind the main pad, which will be in front of the rollers.

Alan: Mm-hmm.

Jim: We’re actually going to be rolling that out for both the 8200 and the 8500, probably right here for the holiday season.

Alan: Oh, that’s great.

Jim: So, it will be an extra option for – if a user – if a user feels the main ‘Kneading’ functions that are in a lot of the auto-programs are a tad bit too aggressive for them, then they can just retrofit it with the extra pad to tone that down.

Alan: Well, you know, this is not a problem that’s singular to your chairs. I mean, most chairs, even if they do have an intensity adjustment, it does not make every – it doesn’t keep everybody happy – and so, we always are talking about ways to adjust it, either by folding up a throw blanket, or lifting the pads up and off if they want it more intense, so there are ways to manipulate that, and play around with it, and but, having another pad is a great idea, a great idea.

Jim: Thank you.

Alan: OK. Now, in the future, have you got plans for any other models or any other changes to the existing models that you have now?

Jim: Funny you should ask that, Doctor. We actually – as you know, we send out our inventory update to our dealer network on Mondays – and this Monday, besides you seeing, I think probably 1000 or so chairs in production for the holiday rush, you’re going to see a new model added to that inventory report that’s now in production.

Alan: Oh, really?

Jim: It’s not designed or meant to surpass the 8500, which I think will be a challenge for us, a challenge for the industry, but I think it’s going to be a great value to the Infinity line, that we think will be very popular.

Alan: Wow, that’s awesome, and you’re expecting that before the holidays, eh?

Jim: Yes, we do. We’ve finalized design and engineering. It’s actually in production, and like I mentioned you’ll see it, you’ll see the production runs on the inventory report that you get on Monday. And I don’t want to say when, off the top of my head when the land date is, when we’ll have it in concrete inventory, but we’ll have that for the holidays, yes.

Alan: Wow, that’s cool. Now, is there any, can you tease us with anything, like a particular feature about it or something, or is that all secretive right now?

Jim: Ah …

Alan: Can you throw us a bone?

Jim: For you, Doctor, I’ll throw you a bone. We really value our relationship with you. It’s going to have a lot of features similar to the 8200, but it’s not going to be up in the Mercedes class range, and I’ll leave it at that.

Alan: OK. Well, I’m looking forward to see it. It seems like you guys have really – and of course, I’m fairly new to your company – I’ve heard of you for a while, but I’ve not been involved with selling your product before this year. But it seems as though you’ve really, and I could be wrong on this, because I’m not really familiar with what you were doing before I got on board, but it seems as though you’ve really put a lot of emphasis in to this industry, in to this massage chair industry. I’ve noticed your pricing has changed, your warranty has changed, the name of your line has changed, you’re really – it seems like you’re really trying to ramp up this niche that you’re a part of now or that you’re heavily involved with, is this a correct assessment or has it always been this way?

Jim: By always this way, I’m not sure, what do you mean by that question?

Alan: Well, it seems like – I don’t how long the 9800 was around for – but it seems like you’re really ramping things up with new models that are successively coming out, and you’re changing your price schedule to make it really fit within that three-grand niche, which is a real sweet spot, I think, for a lot of the non-affluent clients, and so it seems like you’re really kicking it up.

Jim: Absolutely. We have – my partner Michael Garceau and myself – have a tremendous amount of experience in kind of the logistics, design, manufacturing, and implementation – what we, as you know, we came out the gate with the IT-9800, and as we really wanted to get in to the market, and have the Infinity brand be one of the premier brands, we obviously needed to be successful with you, to be successful with our dealer network, to be a value to the public, and for the public to look to the line for quality and for a product portfolio, we needed to add a number of chairs.

Alan: Yeah.

Jim: Definitely from the pricing perspective, I don’t think we’ve tweaked the pricing extensively, other than the tweaks like you mentioned, to make it work for the public, and to make it work through our dealer network. So, there has been a little of that, we hope to minimize it. Certainly, the more changes that we have, it makes it more challenging for you, and for the consumer, but I don’t think we’ll have much of that moving forward.

Alan: Yeah. Well, I like what you’ve done, I like what you’ve the place.

Jim: Thank you.

Alan: The chair’s are nice, and I must say I’m really happy with, like Mary, and the shipping area, and handling the logistics and, you know and Mike, when I need help he’s very responsive, and I love that. I love that I don’t have to leave a message, and wonder if it’s ever going to be received or if I have a problem with a client, you know, we had an experience with a chair, and I hope you don’t mind me sharing this, but …

Jim: Please do.

Alan: … it was a chair, it was a 9800 that we had shipped to New Mexico, and it was up in the mountains of New Mexico, and there was only one shipping company that went up there to deliver, and they also delivered equipment to a mine, a mine, a coal mine, or some kind of mine up there. Well, they put – the shipping company put, and I know that the shipping companies are independent of you and I – these are people we have to put our faith in to deliver our chairs, and make sure they’re taken care of, with our clients, but apparently they put a 3000-pound piece of mining equipment on top of my customer’s chair, and it crushed it.

Jim: Big news.

Alan: And my client was so ticked off, he called me, and he was upset, not really at me, not with me, but he was so upset with the situation, and he vented on me, and he said ‘I don’t want to deal with this kind of crap’, and blah, blah, blah, and he was going to, you know, cancel his order. Well, we got, of course, I called Michael because he’s my guy that I contact in your company, and then, he got in touch with Mary, and next thing you know, I was getting these beautiful emails from Mary, to my customer and me, and I, and explaining the situation, and what had happened, and we’re going to take care of it. Mary was outstanding, she was very gentle and congenial in the way that she wrote her email, she was very sympathetic to Ted, the client, and he’s just furious, he’s just, he’s just, he got his chair finally, he was just so happy with the way he was treated. And of course, I got an email from him this week, cc’d to a friend of his that said ‘MJ, you got to buy a chair, you got to buy this 9800 from Dr. Weidner, because I know you’re going to love the chair, and I know that they’ll take care of you.

Jim: Yeah.

Alan: And that kind of stuff, it means so much to the retailer, you know, to me, because that reflects on me, everything that happens bad to the chair reflects on me, even if I had nothing to do with it. And I just really appreciate that, so you know, kudos to your company for taking such good care of my customers.

Jim: Doctor, I love to hear that, and I really appreciate it for a number of reasons, but one, our staff. We have – I said for years, I’ll take our support staff, and put them in a competition against anybody, and I know we’re going to win. We have a great staff, job one has always been taking care of our dealers, and our customers. And like I said, without elaborating too much, we’re in a bunch of different industries, and a number of different of technologies, so that doesn’t happen by mistake. We have kind of an office, and a procedure in place, with the customer first. And we also have, as you probably know, an ‘A+’ rating with the BBB, which we’re very proud of, and that’s all, all reflected in that story you just told us. One, we take care of the customer, and we have the systems and the operation in place for whatever comes along, and that’s going to happen unfortunately, like you said. The trucking company isn’t you, and it’s not us, but it’s going to happen, but what matters is in the end, in the long run, that we take care of the issue for you, and for your customer, and everybody’s happy.

Alan: Yeah. Well, and I appreciate that. And as a retailer, for me to take on another product, it’s important to me, and I don’t want to take on a product that I worry – have to worry about customer support, because one of biggest issues with our buyers is not the kind of deal they’re getting on the chair – it’s about ‘Am I going to be taken care of after the sale?’ And it’s not just with the customer support of the massage chair supplier, and their warranty support, but am I going to be there after the sale?

Jim: Absolutely.

Alan: And if the massage chair company and I am congruent on that, the customer will sense it, and the customer will be happy, and that’s really all the matters, and we’ve got to keep the customers happy, and I appreciate how you guys do that.

Jim: Absolutely.

Alan: Now, maybe in closing, or at the tail end of this interview, I’m wondering is there anything that you foresee in the future in this industry that you might want to share, any insight to the industry that our viewers might want to, might need to know, or any – I mean, do you have any feelings about maybe massage chair manufacturing moving to Vietnam, because the Chinese expenses are getting too high – do you have any sense about the future of the massage chair industry, or any feelings?

Jim: In general, as I think you probably realize, I think the industry as a whole is only going to grow. The medical benefits of massage – if anybody goes online and Googles the, you know, the benefits of massage, there’s so much information, and literature out there, and so many studies, you know, and whether it’s diabetes, heart problems, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, whatever the case is – I don’t think there’s an ailment that massage therapy can’t benefit in some way, shape, or form, whether it’s just stress relief. So, I think the upside for the industry, in general, is tremendous. We’re very excited about it, as I know you are. As far as insights, I wouldn’t, I mean we’re obviously from New England, and I always, I bring in sports analogies. Coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots doesn’t say much about what’s going on, where as far as the next technologies, and what’s coming out, the latest and the greatest, and where I think we might be, I don’t think I would expound on that very much. I think, in general, as far as cost of manufacturing, I would be surprised if our organization in the near-term-slash-long-term would move our manufacturing operations out of China. Absolutely, we’re pretty in tune to that, we have other technologies that we build in China, besides massage chair products, and the cost of labor has gone up, but I think, for the value of the product and the cost, I don’t think that’s going to change near-term at all. So, there will definite be, I think, more advancements in the massage chair industry. What we’re striving for, and hopefully what we come out, and some of the next-generation products in 2013, I won’t elaborate on, but hopefully, there are some exciting developments.

Alan: Yeah. Well, it seems like – I’ve been in this industry about 10 years, 8 years online – and it seems to me as though the rate of acceleration of changes is increasing, with variations of features like foot rollers, and I’ve seen head airbags, and all kinds of things. You know, I’m kind excited to see what might come. I’d like to see a wireless remote, that’s something I’d like to see, and hopefully they will come up with that, and I can see one day they will have a universal remote where you just sit in your massage chair all day, and you can operate your television, your chair, your microwave …

Jim: Absolutely.

Alan: … your home security. Someday I’m sure they will get to that level of technological advancement, but is there anything else that you’d like to share today, Jim, before we close off this visit.

Jim: No Doctor, again like I started with, I really appreciate your time, and the exposure. You’re obviously, in our opinion a valued dealer, but you have a tremendous knowledge base. We appreciate you backing in the brand, and the good things you’ve had to say about us. We really enjoy our relationship, and I think moving forward, there’s going to be some exciting times. I think you’ll continue to be extremely happy with our organization, who we are, how we support you, how we support your end users, and we plan on being a leader for a long time, and having cutting edge products, so we’re looking forward to a lot of years of success, and a great relationship with you, so I appreciate your time.

Alan: Well, you bet, and it’s been a pleasure to have you, and I know you’re a busy guy, it’s been hard to get you pinned down to a time.

Jim: I apologize for that.

Alan: No, that’s all right. I understand that, and it’s been – believe it or not, well you probably believe this, but you probably do believe this – but I’ve had so much trouble setting up these interviews with some of these massage chair companies, and I don’t know if, I think it’s starting to look as though some are even afraid to visit. I don’t know what the deal is, but I really appreciate it. So, it’s kind of nice to have someone to talk to about this brand, and it’s nice to hear it from someone else besides just me, and so, I appreciate the time, and appreciate your company, but I do look forward to much more e-commerce with you, so thanks very much.

Jim: Fantastic. Thank you, Doctor. I appreciate your time.

Alan: Thanks, have a great day, good weekend.

Jim: Good weekend.

Alan: See you. Bye bye.


Here is the link to the Infinite Therapeutics interview.

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