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Kroger extends USO partnership for July 4 weekend

BY Allison Cerra

CINCINNATI — Kroger at its family of stores this past weekend extended its Honoring Our Heroes campaign, an initiative designed to benefit the United Service Organizations.

Kroger’s yearlong initiative is expected to raise $1 million to support the USO’s mission to support our troops, their families and veterans. This past weekend, Kroger invited customers to donate spare change to the USO via in-store specially marked coin boxes. The funds raised support the programs and services the USO provides to service members and their families, Kroger said.

"Without essential partners like Kroger, it would be impossible for the USO to fulfill its mission of lifting the spirits of our men and women in uniform and their families," USO president Sloan Gibson said. "This campaign is a wonderful way for Americans to show their gratitude and say ‘thank you’ to those who sacrifice every day for our freedom."

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Sam’s Club pledges $2 million for Giving Made Simple campaign

BY Allison Cerra

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Sam’s Club is highlighting health-and-wellness issues through its latest campaign, and has pledged to donate up to $2 million to four nonprofits.

The retailer’s 2011 Giving Made Simple campaign allows Sam’s Club members and associates to direct a portion of the company’s donations to four health-related nonprofit organizations: Alliance for a Healthier Generation, OASIS, Sesame Street and The Y.

Members and associates can vote in clubs July 9 and 10, and online every day beginning Monday at SamsClub.com/GivingMadeSimple and on Facebook through Aug. 1. Each member and associate vote adds $5 to the amount that a designated participating organization receives, allowing the nonprofits to receive a minimum of $50,000 and up to $500,000 each, Sam’s Club said.

"This year, we are focusing our annual Giving Made Simple campaign on health and wellness and prevention of chronic disease, which we know is a top concern for everyone," Sam’s Club health-and-wellness SVP Jill Turner-Mitchael said. "We are proud that we can direct our philanthropy to make communities healthier and combine our giving with business initiatives, such as $4 generic prescriptions, free monthly health screenings in clubs, health management programs and more."

As previously reported by Drug Store News, Sam’s Club this weekend also will host free health screenings for kids in its stores nationwide.

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Duane Reade heads to Wall Street for latest flagship

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK — Duane Reade, which is owned by Walgreens, is opening on July 6 its 22,000-sq.-ft. flagship store that has a decided “up market focus” with exclusive services and amenities never seen before in a Duane Reade or any other drug store.

The innovative 24-hour store is located at 40 Wall St., which is known as the "Crown Jewel of Wall Street" and once held the title of the tallest building in the world.

"This store represents a milestone, with the best ideas of Duane Reade and Walgreens setting a new benchmark for health and daily living," stated Walgreens president and CEO Greg Wasson. "As part of the Walgreens family of companies, Duane Reade is taking an important step in its highly visible rebranding initiatives with the opening of this store."

Joe Magnacca, president of Duane Reade and president of daily living products and solutions for Walgreens, added, "This space signifies great historical achievement, where it took workers just 93 days to build the entire steel frame of this 72-story building in 1930. Since then, it has been transformed for the new era, mirroring Duane Reade’s strategic brand repositioning today. 40 Wall St. is the latest phase in introducing our iconic New York brand to its modern relevancy with our New York metropolitan area customers."

The location features the company’s signature "Doctor On Premises" service that provides urgent, affordable and quality health care, and Duane Reade’s first pharmacy "Powered by Walgreens Pharmacy Network." The new system will link to Walgreens’ pharmacy system, the largest pharmacy network in the United States. New Yorkers, out-of-state residents and visitors now can have their Walgreens pharmacy information available at this Duane Reade location for a seamless patient experience that also will include prescription "ready" text messaging.

An expanded beauty department will feature the Look Boutique, offering before-and-after virtual makeovers, skin analysis from Philips Crystalize and an automatic fragrance sampler that will allow customers to try more than 40 different scents on their wrists. A nail salon will feature manicures, gels and the latest colors from OPI and Essie, and a hair salon by Phyto Universe will have such services as hair/scalp analysis, blowouts and styling from a certified hair care professional. High-end, salon grade skin/hair products and accessories will be available from Nuxe and other brands.

Duane Reade will bring the best of its New York Living Made Easy vision with store offerings that will include a sushi station, featuring a chef and full menu from edamame to elaborate rolls; the Juice Market, offering fresh-made specialty-themed smoothies; a Starbucks coffee and fresh bakery counter; a Coca-Cola "Freestyle" machine dispensing 130 varieties of Coca-Cola fountain drinks; and an expanded natural and organic section containing fresh fruits, vegetables, wraps, sandwiches and salads made daily; as well as other products exclusive to Duane Reade.

"The fresh and healthy food offerings will be unparalleled within the drug store industry," stated Paul Tiberio, SVP merchandising and chief marketing officer for Duane Reade. "As our customers shop across fewer retailers, we have positioned 40 Wall St. to best service the ‘need-it-now’ trips of the area’s growing residential and professional populations, offering an ‘up market’ fresh food proposition and their one-stop shop solution."

The Virtual Assistant, custom designed for Duane Reade by Tensator, will welcome and introduce customers to the many new store features by utilizing the latest in holographic imaging and audio-visual technology to create the illusion of a real person. Tensator is a global leader in queue management and digital signage solutions.

For the professional on the go, a retro-styled, mahogany-polished shoe shine area will be on hand, and all proceeds from the shine will be donated to various New York-based philanthropic organizations through the Duane Reade Charitable Foundation. In addition, business enthusiasts will be able to browse the international newsstand stocked with papers from financial centers across the globe, power-up at a cell phone charging station that will lock the device and charge while a customer shops, all while taking in stock, news and sports feeds on the 20-ft. official NYSE in-store ticker.

Other features include daily fresh flowers and the biggest Duane Reade/HP digital photo center to date.

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