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Health Mart launches mobile wellness tour

BY Jim Frederick

SAN FRANCISCO Fast-growing pharmacy franchise operator Health Mart today launched a mobile wellness tour scheduled to stop at key locations in Wichita, Kan., and Madison, Wisc. through April 12. During the tour, a Health Mart-branded RV will visit key community locations—including nursing homes, community centers, churches and others—to provide free blood pressure, bone density, cholesterol and diabetes screenings.

Using the company’s specially outfitted bus and the services of health screening professionals, Health Mart is timing the tour to complement in-pharmacy wellness screenings scheduled to take place at more than 40 Health Mart pharmacies in Wisconsin and Kansas. The wellness tour is aimed at “all interested community members, including those who may not have regular access to healthcare services,” a Health Mart spokesperson noted.

A division of McKesson Corp., Health Mart is the industry’s fastest-growing pharmacy franchiser, with nearly 1,900 independent drug stores now under its banner nationwide.

With a theme of “Today is the Day,” both the mobile wellness tour and in-store screenings aim to encourage community members to take better control of their health, according to the company. Participants will also receive complimentary osteoporosis educational materials and Prilosec samples provided by Procter & Gamble, which is co-sponsoring the tour.

On April 12, the final day of the Midwest mobile tour, Health Mart will serve as a Gold Sponsor of the 2008 American Cancer Society Run/Walk event at Warner Park in Madison. The event raises money for American Cancer Society research, education, advocacy and service initiatives. During the event, community members can visit a Health Mart wellness tent and RV to receive free blood pressure, bone density, cholesterol, and diabetes screenings, as well as educational materials and samples provided by Procter & Gamble. 

“We look forward to bringing the mobile tour to additional communities across the country,” said Matt Lowe, vice president of retail marketing for McKesson U.S. Pharmaceutical. 

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Vestcom launches turnkey in-store nutritional program

BY Adam Kraemer

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. Vestcom International today announced the introduction of a turnkey nutritional grocery marketing program designed for retailers of all sizes. The new program provides retailers with easy-to-read, data-driven, integrated shelf communications that operate as color-coded nutrition “flags” used to identify foods that meet such special dietary needs as gluten free, healthy kids, organic, and/or heart healthy.

Retailers can use SKU-related tags and related integrated marketing materials provided by Vestcom—a leading provider of data-driven, shelf-edge marketing solutions to major retailers and brand manufacturers in the grocery, drug, and mass merchandising industries—to add value to the shopping experience by helping customers make healthier food choices with quick and simple health and nutritional information delivered at the shelf edge. Like all Vestcom shelf-edge programs, the company stated, these data-driven health and wellness education marketing programs can be completely customized to any store chain specifications.

“The shift toward leading a more health-conscious lifestyle continues to pick up steam,” noted Tim McKenzie, president and chief operating officer of Vestcom. “Retailers have seen an increase in ‘better-for-you’ products lining the shelves.”

The flags, Vestcom stated, both comply with an individual store’s branding requirements and capture the customer’s attention without cluttering the aisles or interfering with overall store design. The tags support clean store policies and have a proven record of lifting sales. Retailers can customize the nutritional program with their own logos and themes to reinforce their stores’ brand identity. The program is generally available to all interested retailers.

“Our new in-store health and wellness programs identify healthy products and streamline shelf execution for the retailer,” added McKenzie. “These programs are a hit because the retailer benefits in many ways. They’re easy to execute, they promote health, and they help shoppers make informed decisions, which makes shoppers very happy.”

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Hannaford reports data breach involving 4.2 million accounts

BY Drew Buono

PORTLAND, Maine Hannaford finds itself in the midst of a major security breach that has affected all 165 stores it operated in the Northeast, 106 Sweetbay stores in Florida and a small number of independent groceries that sell Hannaford products, according to the Associated Press. In all, over 4 million debit and credit card numbers were exposed, which led to 1,800 cases of fraud.

The numbers were stolen during the card authorization process. Hannaford became aware of the breach Feb. 27. Investigators later determined that the breach began on Dec. 7 and that it wasn’t put under control until March 10, according to Carol Eleazer, Hannaford’s vice president of marketing in Scarborough.

The U.S. Secret Service, whose duties include investigating electronic crimes such as data breaches, confirmed it’s investigating but declined to comment on the scope of the crime.

Bruce Spitzer, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Bankers Association, criticized the delay in public notification of the source of the breach.

“Visa and MasterCard have stipulated in their contracts with retailers that they will not divulge who the source is when a data breach occurs,” Spitzer said. “We’ve been engaged in a dialogue for a couple years now about changing this rule…. Without knowing who the retailer is that caused the breach, it’s hard for banks to conduct a good investigation on behalf of their consumers. And it’s a problem for consumers as well, because if they know which retailer is responsible, they can rule themselves out for being at risk if they don’t shop at that retailer.”

This breach is considered one of the biggest cases on record involving a retailer.

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