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George H. Bartell Jr. passes away at 92

BY Antoinette Alexander

SEATTLE George H. Bartell Jr., chairman emeritus of the nation’s oldest pharmacy retailer Bartell Drug Co., died on Jan. 21 in Scottsdale, Ariz., after a short illness. He was 92 years old.

Bartell Jr., the only son of the company’s founder, not only guided the chain through its initial suburban expansion and retail transformation following World War II, but proudly carried on the tradition of customer service and respect of employees after taking over the business from his father, George H. Bartell Sr.

“My father instilled in us what his own father had believed: respect your employees and treat your customers well,” stated George D. Bartell, Bartell Jr.’s son who continued the family tradition by becoming president in 1990 and later became and remains chairman and CEO.

The current third generation of Bartells running the 55-store chain includes vice chairman and treasurer, Jean Bartell Barber.

When Bartell Jr. was a youngster his father asked him if the company should be sold to a rival, out-of-state drug store chain for $1 million. Without hesitation, Bartell Jr. told his father no. His father agreed and today the company is the oldest family-owned drug store chain the United States with locations in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties of Washington.

In 1935, Bartell Jr. left the University of Washington after one year of study because a doctor had informed his father that he had only a few months to live. As it turned out, his father lived more than 20 years longer and actually outlived the doctor.

Bartell Jr., an avid hiker and ardent golfer, began at the bottom of his father’s business, moving boxes and filling warehouse orders as he learned the business. He continued his on-the-job training by working as a clerk and then an assistant store manager before being put in charge of purchasing and merchandising for the candy and tobacco departments. He later took charge of store design and was named president in 1939. In 1942, Bartell Jr., who grew up on Seattle’s Queen Anne Hill, was drafted into the U.S. Army and rose to the rank captain.

In 1951, a state law requiring drug store owners to be licensed pharmacists prompted him to enroll in the University of Washington after a 17-year absence and earn a degree in pharmacy. The law was later ruled unconstitutional, but at the time of its passage, it appeared that unless he returned to college to earn a degree in pharmacy, the company would have to be sold when his father died.

In the 1950s, Bartell Drugs became the first drug store located in a major regional shopping center—Seattle’s Northgate Mall. The company also began opening new locations in growing communities throughout King County, including Bellevue and Burien.

Aside from enjoying hobbies, Bartell Jr. also participated in a number of civic and philanthropic activities. These included The Municipal League, the Pacific Northwest Chapter of Young President’s Organization and The Retail Trade Bureau, all of which he headed at one point in time, as well as Boy Scouts and the Seattle Chamber of Commerce. He was a member of the Rainier Club, Scottish Rite Temple and the Chief Executive’s Forum. He was also a supporter of the University of Washington School of Pharmacy and Husky football.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 54 years, Elizabeth, who passed away in 2003. He is survived by his children, George D. Bartell, Jean Bartell Barber, Robert H. Bartell, and seven grandchildren.

Memorials may be addressed to the Chief Seattle Council of the Boy Scouts of America or The Salvation Army. A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. on Feb. 5 at the University Presbyterian Church, 4540 15th Avenue NE in Seattle.

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Abbott opens Singapore research lab

BY Alaric DeArment

SINGAPORE A United States drug and device manufacturer announced Tuesday that it opened a laboratory in Singapore.

Abbott said the pharmaceutical analytical research laboratory opened in the Southeast Asian city-state’s Biopolis research park. The Abbott Park, Ill.-based company said the lab was its first in Southeast Asia and would conduct stability studies, including studies on active drug ingredients and novel formulations, to support regulatory requirements around the world. 

“Abbott has continually increased its investment in R&D over the last decade, resulting in a promising pipeline,” Abbott SVP for pharmaceuticals research and development John Leonard said in a statement. “To realize the potential from the growth in Abbott?s early-stage pipeline requires the resources of a truly global R&D organization, and the scientific talent available in Singapore made it a logical choice for Abbott?s expansion in the region.”

The company said the work done at the lab will allow it to develop investigational medicines and deliver new treatments to patients faster in areas such as neuroscience and cancer.

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Winn-Dixie implements savings program

BY Michael Johnsen

Jacksonville, Fla. Winn-Dixie Stores on Wednesday announced the roll out of a savings program to help customers stretch their grocery dollars simply by using their Winn-Dixie Customer Reward Card.

Shoppers can enjoy savings throughout the store in five different ways. The program offers “Buy One Get One Free” deals, “10 for $10” items, quarterly “Good ‘Til” sales, Winn-Dixie brand products, which feature everyday savings, and new monthly “Locked-In Low Price” specials.

Winn-Dixie rolled out the new program last week using in-store signage, its circular advertisements and both TV and Radio campaigns. Each component focuses on the five ways to save, and encourages customers to shop their neighborhood Winn-Dixie.

“In these difficult economic times, our customers are looking for new ways to save at their neighborhood Winn-Dixie,” stated Dan Portnoy, Winn-Dixie’s chief merchandising and marketing officer. “The ‘I Saved’ program is one way we can offer our customers a fresh and local shopping experience with the value they deserve.”

Winn-Dixie customers save every time they use their Winn-Dixie Customer Reward Card on thousands of specially marked items throughout the store. Manufacturers’ coupons also apply, which allows shoppers to save even more.

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