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CVS partners with ODEP to promote employment of those with disabilities

BY Antoinette Alexander

WASHINGTON The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy and CVS/Caremark established on Tuesday an alliance to encourage and promote the employment of people with disabilities through training and education, outreach and communication, technical assistance and other efforts.

“This alliance will mutually benefit CVS/Caremark, the company’s workforce and customers, the Labor Department’s Office of Disability Employment Policy and the general public,” stated Karen M. Czarnecki, acting assistant secretary of labor for ODEP. “Hiring, retaining and advancing employees with disabilities is just good business. ODEP and CVS/Caremark will share information, guidance and resources that will help to develop model programs for other employers, particularly in the retail and pharmacy services industries.”

Through the two-year alliance, ODEP and CVS/Caremark jointly will distribute training and education materials to, as well as share effective disability employment practices with, the company’s human resources leaders. They will collaborate to identify technical assistance resources in providing workplace accommodations. The two organizations also will disseminate information in a variety of ways to promote a national dialogue on disability employment issues.

CVS/Caremark was a 2006 recipient of the Secretary of Labor’s New Freedom Initiative Award for its efforts in furthering the employment and workplace environment for people with disabilities. As such, the company is a member of ODEP’s Circle of Champions, a group of U.S. employers that works with the agency to help inform disability employment policy by sharing proven business strategies.

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Rite Aid-sponsored walk raises more than $600,000 for diabetes association

BY Michael Johnsen

PHILADELPHIA More than $600,000 was raised for the American Diabetes Association Saturday as men and women from across the country climbed more than 1,000 stairs and walked 10 miles throughout Philadelphia in the first Step Up to Fight Diabetes fund-raising challenge that was sponsored by Rite Aid. The Step Up event raised mondy for research, education and advocacy efforts of the association.

During Step Up, participants went on a “climbing tour” of Philadelphia beginning at Temple University’s Liacouras Center and ending at the well-known Philadelphia Museum of Art—running up those steps was immortalized by Sylvester Stallone in the film Rocky.

“Diabetes is the fastest-growing disease in America and the incidence of the disease is four percent higher in Philadelphia than the national average,” stated American Diabetes Association chief executive officer Larry Hausner. “Our hope is that Step Up can spread awareness about diabetes and raise money for a cure.”

Other Step Up to Fight Diabetes sponsors included Merck, AstraZeneca and the Temple University Health System Transport Team.

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Spartan announces plans for acquired Felpausch stores

BY Allison Cerra

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. Spartan Stores is focusing on integrating its newly acquired Felpausch grocery stores into its network during the second half of its 2008 fiscal year.

Spartan expects the Hastings-based, 20-store Felpausch acquisition in June to add about $85 million in sales during the fiscal year. About $4 million to $5 million will be spent, with five store remodelings during the next two quarters.

During last week’s conference call, which discussed the company’s second quarter earnings, officials told analysts that they plan to spend $1.5 million to $2 million for merchandise changes, store remodeling and employee training in its third and fourth quarters.

Spartan, known as the country’s 10th-largest grocery distributor, with close to 400 independent grocery stores as customers in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio, also owns 88 grocery stores in Michigan and 14 drug stores in Ohio, including Family Fare Supermarkets, D&W Fresh Markets, Glen’s Markets, Felpausch Food Centers and The Pharm.

Spartan plans to renovate the stores and rename them either Family Fare or D&W, depending on market demographics.

Spartan reported that its net sales for the quarter reached a six-year high, with $627.1 million, or a 13.5 percent increase over the $552.6 million for the same time period last year.

Net earnings for the second quarter reached $9.1 million, or 42 cents per share, compared to $9.3 million, or 44 cents per share last year.

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