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CVS Samaritan Van celebrates 30 years

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. CVS has announced that it is celebrating 30 years of helping motorists on the nation’s highways through its CVS Samaritan Van program.

The program launched in Rhode Island 30 years ago on Feb. 6, 1978, the same day that the “Blizzard of ‘78” struck the Northeast. The single vehicle and its driver immediately began to provide assistance to motorists who became stranded by the sudden storm.

Today, a fleet of CVS Samaritan Vans, patrolling highways around nine major U.S. cities, have traveled more than 10 million “help miles” and assisted more than one million people. The white vans with the red “CVS/Samaritan” logo have become a familiar site to commuters in Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Indianapolis, Providence and Washington, D.C. The program is operated on behalf of CVS by Samaritania, which is located in Franklin, Mass.

They are ASE-certified in motor vehicle repair and are also licensed EMTs, are capable of making numerous on-site repairs, administering help or using their communications equipment to summon police, rescue vehicles or tow trucks. All repairs, supplies and aid they provide are free of charge.

“By working in cooperation with local transportation departments, metro traffic centers, law enforcement and other emergency responders, our highly trained CVS Samaritan Van drivers provide welcome roadside assistance and support,” stated Eileen Howard Dunn, senior vice president of corporate communications and community relations. “By helping to keep people safe on our nation’s highways, the CVS Samaritan Van program is part of our company’s vision to strive to improve the quality of human life.”

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Price Chopper rolls out heart-healthy initiative

BY Drew Buono

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. Price Chopper is celebrating Heart Health Month by launching an initiative throughout its stores that focuses on healthy living for customers and staff members, according to published reports.

The initiative will run all month long and will encompass nutrition education, product sampling and promotion of its Healthy U brand, free cholesterol screenings, heart-health tours, and cause marketing for the American Heart Association. Throughout the month, fresh fruit and yogurt parfait snacks will be sold for a $1, with all the proceeds going to the American Heart Association.

The retailer’s pharmacies will also be part of the initiative, with departments auctioning off a blood pressure monitor each week, as well as handing out a booklet, “Quit Smoking without Gaining Weight,” and a bookmark listing ways to beat stress. The stores will also use their kiosks, which will offer information about eating healthy as well as information about heart-health.

“Price Chopper can be counted on as a reliable source of heart-health information to go along with the vast mix of fresh and packaged heart-healthy products we carry,” said Price Chopper vice president of public relations and consumer services Mona Golub.

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Shoppers Drug Mart announces increase for FY 2007

BY Michael Johnsen

TORONTO Shoppers Drug Mart on Tuesday reported a sales increase of 8.9 percent to $8.4 billion (in U.S. dollars) for its fiscal 2007 ending Dec. 29.

Prescription sales increased 9.1 percent to $4 billion and front-store sales were up 8.7 percent to $4.5 billion. On a same-store basis, sales increased 5.2 percent, with prescription sales up 5.8 percent and front-store comp sales up 4.7 percent.

In fiscal 2007, prescription sales accounted for 47 percent of the company’s sales mix compared to 46.9 percent in the prior year.

At year-end, there were 1,121 stores in the system, comprised of 1,057 drug stores and 64 Shoppers Home Health Care stores. During 2007, the selling square footage of the store network increased by 11.5 percent, to in excess of 9.7 million square feet at year end.

Shoppers Drug Mart expects total sales to increase by between 10.5 percent and 12 percent in 2008, a 53-week fiscal year. This expectation is underpinned by projected same-store sales growth, expressed on a 52-week basis, of between 5 percent and 6 percent in pharmacy and 4.5 percent to 5.5 percent in the front store.

Shoppers Drug Mart plans to allocate approximately $500 million to capital expenditures in 2008, with approximately 80 percent of this amount being invested in the store network, including acquisitions of drug stores, prescription files and land. Once again, this should result in an increase in selling square footage of more than 10 percent, the company stated, with the addition of between 120 and 130 new drug stores, approximately 40 to 45 of which will be relocations, and through the completion of up to 10 major expansions.

The Company also plans to add up to five home health care stores to its network in 2008.

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