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Giant debuts largest combo unit

BY Jim Frederick

WILLOW GROVE, Pa. —Giant Food Stores unveiled its largest food-drug combo store to date in this Philadelphia suburb March 5, bringing its newest concepts in health and wellness, nutritional education and interactive technology to a potentially rich trove of new customers.

At 97,300 square feet, Giant’s newest retail behemoth is the largest the Carlisle, Pa.-based supermarket chain has ever built. It’s big enough to house the full gamut of service departments first unveiled by the 85-year-old company in its new Camp Hill, Pa., prototype three years ago—including a full-scale pharmacy and drug store offering, interactive kiosks, a slew of natural and organic items, and an on-site nutritionist.

“We opened Camp Hill as a concept store, so it had many of the amenities we’ve rolled into some of our other stores. But this is the first store since then that features all of those services under one roof,” said Tracy Pawelski, spokeswoman for the 147-store chain.

Among them: an on-site multilingual dietitian to answer consumers’ questions about the thousands of natural, organic and traditional food items on display. The in-store nutritionist, Mary Ann Moylan, is both a registered dietitian and a certified diabetic educator.

“Living a healthy lifestyle has become a major focal point in today’s society,” said store manager Shawn McGrory. “As one of the few grocery store chains in the country to offer the services of a nutritionist right in the store, we are in a unique position to help customers incorporate healthful changes into their every day diets.”

In line with that approach, the store includes Giant’s Nature’s Promise Marketplace, a health food store-within-a-store offering more than 3,500 natural and organic products, including Giant’s own brand, Nature’s Promise. In addition, perishable departments will provide organic selections of produce, dairy, meat and poultry items.

The Nature’s Promise Marketplace also will include “HealthNotes,” a touch-screen computer kiosk offering information on health conditions, vitamins and herbal supplements, and healthy recipes.

The Giant superstore also features a supervised child play area, an on-site cooking school, an upscale café with wireless Internet access, valet parking and four meeting rooms available free to nonprofit organizations and for a nominal fee for other groups.

Expanding on the health-and-wellness themes on prominent displays in the store, Giant also partnered with Abington Memorial Hospital to offer customers in-store classes, childbirth and parenting education, and heart health programs.

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MinuteClinic moves forward with Massachusetts plans

BY Antoinette Alexander

MINNEAPOLIS MinuteClinic, a clinic operator owned by CVS Caremark, has applied for its first 10 clinic sites in Massachusetts and expects the opening dates to be in late summer to early fall.

As previously reported by Drug Store News, in January, state health officials approved regulations allowing for limited service medical clinics, marking the end of a long review process that included two public hearings and the submission of hundreds of pages of testimony regarding the regulations.

MinuteClinic stated that it is working with the Massachusetts Department of Health and “is confident that the sites meet the regulatory requirements and will receive approval to move forward.”

The new in-store clinics are planned for CVS stores in Ashland, Beverly, Bridgewater, Danvers, Medford, Medway, Stoughton, Taunton, Tewkesbury and Westford.

The sites are the first of a total of 25 to 30 the company expects to open in Massachusetts by the end of 2008.

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Hallmark exits online flower and gift business

BY Doug Desjardins

KANSAS CITY, Mo. Hallmark is exiting the online gift and flower business, citing a less-than-acceptable return on investment. The move will result in the loss of about 100 jobs at its corporate headquarters and distribution center in Memphis, Tenn., though Hallmark said it would try to find new jobs in the company for those workers.

Hallmark started its online flower business in 2001 and its online and catalog gift and decor business in 2005. The decision will not affect its online business for greeting cards and stationery. A company spokeswoman said Hallmark decided to shutter the flower and gift divisions after determining they “couldn’t guarantee the results we needed.”

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