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Large Shoppers Drug Mart store opened in Belleville

BY Michael Johnsen

BELLEVILLE, Ontario Shoppers Drug Mart opened a new 18,000-square-foot store here Dec. 1, according to a news report in the Belleville Intelligencer published Thursday.

It’s one of the largest Shoppers throughout the chain, the paper reported.

The new store fields a robust grocery department, featuring one of the most expansive food offerings in the chain, and includes an organic food line, Nativa, exclusive to Shoppers.

The new store also features some Shoppers mainstays—a full cosmetic offering, home-healthcare section and local post office.

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Under new owners and new management, Tops Markets works to regain momentum

BY Jim Frederick

ROCHESTER, N.Y. With its purchase this week by a new, deep-pockets owner and the return of a popular and energetic chief executive, Tops Markets may finally be emerging from a painful era of cutbacks and financial scandal as it works to regain momentum in western New York State and Pennsylvania.

Morgan Stanley Private Equity announced early this week it had finalized its purchase of the 71-store supermarket and food/drug combo-store chain from Royal Ahold, for a price of $310 million. Morgan Stanley executives praised Tops as “a well regarded grocer with attractive long-term performance, strong employee relationships and a loyal customer base,” and announced plans to reinvest in the company with an aggressive store-remodeling effort and the hiring of dozens of headquarters staff to beef up merchandising, marketing, information technology and other areas critical to improving customer satisfaction. Morgan Stanley also revealed plans to eventually consolidate those central-office functions in the Buffalo, N.Y. area.

In another key move, Morgan Stanley lured Frank Curci back to Tops as chief executive officer, four years after Curci left Ahold USA amid a series of financial scandals that roiled the management ranks and spurred a company-wide retrenchment. Although Curci himself was not implicated, he accepted oversight responsibility for the problems at Tops and agreed to leave Ahold.

His return appears to be a welcome development among Tops’ employees and managers, according to a report in The Buffalo News. David Smoot, managing director of Morgan Stanley Private Equity, praised Curci for his “vast knowledge of the supermarket industry and his familiarity with the Tops organization.

“We look forward to having Frank as a member of the Board and we are confident he will lead a smooth and successful transition,” Smoot added.

The sale by Ahold of its Tops division caps a long period of retrenchment for the chain, long known as a leader in supermarket and pharmacy retailing in upstate and western New York, Pennsylvania and northeast Ohio. Over the past three years, Tops has shrunk from a peak store count of more than 150 supermarkets to its current total of 71 company-owned stores and five franchised units. It has also severed its ties with the northeast Ohio region by selling its 46 stores in Cleveland and nearby markets to Giant Eagle, Rego’s Fresh Market, and other local operators. Since mid-2005, the chain has also exited eastern New York State with sales of stores to Price Chopper, C&S Wholesale Grocers and other rivals.

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Medication safety effort for seniors earns Aurora national recognition

BY DSN STAFF

MILWAUKEE A new and unusual patient safety initiative, aimed at improving medication safety in the medical clinic, has won Aurora Health Care national recognition from the Institute for Safe Medication Practices.

The Institute selected Aurora’s Walworth County Patient Safety Council for a Cheers Award, which honors individuals, organizations and companies that have set a standard of excellence in the prevention of medication errors and adverse drug events.

Aurora’s WCPSC represents a new approach to the issue of medication safety. Patients and a safety expert from Midwest Airlines joined with Aurora physicians and pharmacists to improve medication safety for local senior citizens through a grant from the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The WCPSC is believed to be the first model that brought patients and providers together to develop strategies for improving medication safety for seniors in their community.

“A key element of our commitment to enhance safety is the involvement of the community, which has helped us to approach our initiatives from the patient’s perspective,” stated Kathryn Leonhardt, Aurora’s patient safety officer and medical director of care management.

“From the initial design stages to the implementation of the tools, we applied a grassroots, public health approach to build this program as a community effort,” Leonhardt said. “Patients partnered with us to help design and disseminate tools and educate the community to work collaboratively with their physician to ensure the medical record accurately reflected the medications a patient is taking.”

The efforts included distribution of medication bags and lists to seniors in the county. There were ongoing presentations on improving communications between patients and their physician and care team. The initial focus was on the five Aurora Clinics in Walworth County. The effort later was extended to community groups. Through the initiative, the accuracy of medication lists in the doctor’s office improved from 69 percent to 81 percent.

Work is under way to replicate the process throughout Aurora. “Consumers Advancing Patient Safety believes that the perspective, the wisdom and the will of patients and families in partnership with providers from around the world provides the most powerful contribution to ensuring a truly authentic and sustainable transformation in patient safety,” stated Susan Sheridan, CAPS co-founder and president. “We applaud Aurora for recognizing the value of partnering with consumers in this medication safety project.”

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