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Meijer opens superstore in Sturgis, Mich.

BY Michael Johnsen

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Meijer on Thursday opened a new 192,000-square-foot supercenter in Sturgis, Mich.

"Opening this store has been a long time coming, and we're thrilled the day is finally here," CEO Hank Meijer said. "Sturgis has never had a one-stop shopping destination like Meijer, so we're proud to be the retailer to fill that void."

The new store is the latest of nine new Meijer supercenters to open – and part of an investment of more than $400 million in new and remodeled stores – this year. The Sturgis store will welcome customers from St. Joseph, Cass, and Branch counties and is located at the corner of South Centerville Road and West South Street.

In addition to the retailer's traditional grocery and merchandise, garden center, and 24-hour gas station, the new Sturgis Meijer pharmacy will offer drive-thru pick up and the company's free prescription program. The prescription program includes leading oral generic antibiotics with a special focus on prescriptions most often filled for children, prenatal vitamins, and medications for those with diabetes and high cholesterol. Since its inception in 2006, the Meijer free prescription program has filled nearly 33 million free prescriptions, saving Meijer customers nearly $454 million.

With more than 100 stores located throughout Michigan, the new store is built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards and will be open 24 hours a day.

Opening celebrations began with a ribbon-cutting event, followed by remarks from Meijer leadership and local officials. The store also demonstrated its commitment to the community by making donations to a local organization. Store director Marsha Keefer presented $25,000 to the Doyle Community Center to help with the construction of a new 2,500 square foot strength training center to its multi-purpose sports, fitness and recreational facility.
 

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WBA closes $6 billion debt offering

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. – Walgreens Boots Alliance on Wednesday closed a $6 billion debt offering to finance its proposed acquisition of Rite Aid.

The international retail pharmacy operator intends to use the net proceeds from the offering to fund a portion of the cash consideration payable in connection with the Rite Aid acquisition, to retire a portion of Rite Aid’s existing debt and to pay related fees and expenses.

The previously announced debt offering consisted of:

  • $1.25 billion 1.750% notes due 2018;
  • $1.5 billion 2.600% notes due 2021;
  • $750 million 3.100% notes due 2023;
  • $1.9 billion 3.450% notes due 2026; and
  • $600 million 4.650% notes due 2046.

Any remaining net proceeds from the sale of the notes may also be used for general corporate purposes.

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King Soopers president announces retirement

BY Michael Johnsen

CINCINNATI – Kroger on Wednesday announced that Russ Dispense, president of the company's King Soopers division, plans to retire on July 1, after 51 years with the company.

His successor will be announced at a later date, Kroger stated.

"Throughout his distinguished career, Russ has always been known for his passion for the community, King Soopers and for people," stated Rodney McMullen, chairman and CEO, Kroger. "His desire to see those who work with him grow and develop has changed the lives of our associates and touched the lives of our customers," he said. "Under Russ's leadership King Soopers has grown significantly while remaining Colorado's favorite grocery store in a highly-competitive market. Russ will end his incredible career as our longest-serving King Soopers president. We are grateful for his many years of exceptional service and leadership, and wish him, Debbie and their family all the best in retirement."

A Colorado native, Dispense began his career in the supermarket industry in 1965, when he joined King Soopers as a courtesy clerk. He served in various leadership positions in stores and district management through the years, as well as at warehouses, manufacturing plants and administrative offices. Dispense was promoted to VP retail operations and merchandising for the King Soopers division in 1983. He also served as VP real estate. In 1999, he was promoted to president of Smith's Food and Drug Stores in Salt Lake City.

Dispense was named to his current role as president of King Soopers/City Market division in 2001.

Dispense currently serves on the board of directors for Western Association of Food Chains, Children's Hospital Colorado and the Colorado Health Foundation. He has served as the past chairman of the board for the Better Business Bureau, and on the board of directors for both the Mountain States Employers Council and the Rocky Mountain Food Dealers Association, as well as the State of Colorado Governor's Advisory Council.

He holds a degree in Business Administration from Western State College and is a graduate of the University of Southern California Food Industry Management Program.

Dispense has been married to his wife Debbie for 46 years. They are the proud parents of two grown children, Lisa and Marc, and have five grandsons.
 

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