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Pharmaca tweaks branding, plans expansion spurt

BY Michael Johnsen

MENLO PARK, Calif. — Earlier this month, Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy unveiled its latest store design here, marking the company’s 23rd location and heralding more new-store growth to come. Pharmaca is targeting three new store openings in 2011, Mark Panzer, Pharmaca president and CEO, told Drug Store News.

And Pharmaca will be looking to grow by three to six new stores each year through 2015, Panzer said — a pace that would put them at approximately 44 locations in that time frame. “It’s all predicated on operating results and investment,” Panzer said.

Early on, that new store growth will help augment the company’s presence in the five Western states it serves, including California, Colorado, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington. But it won’t be too long before Pharmaca begins targeting new market expansion, including the possibility of opening an East Coast operation. “We will be expanding outside of the states in which we currently operate in the future,” Panzer said. “People across the United States are looking at health care as being more preventive than an acute need, so any market is ripe,” he said.

“[The new Menlo Park location] is going to be a little bit different,” Panzer said, noting that prior to becoming a Pharmaca pharmacy, Pharmaca’s new corner location housed an art gallery. And the new store features several new branding elements, Panzer said, such as moving away from a script logo and toward more traditional block lettering. The new store also features expanded categories, such as “rest and relaxation,” health monitoring and beverages, which incorporates the fast-growing probiotic niche. “And we’ve improved pharmacy workflow,” Panzer added.

“[The neighborhood] has the right demographics and psychographics for our customer base. It matches up well with what we’re looking for,” he said. Pharmaca’s pharmacy concept — one that populates its sales floor with licensed naturopathic doctors or other holistic healthcare practitioners as part of a more natural leaning toward health care — caters more to customers with advanced college degrees and annual household incomes exceeding $100,000.

Pharmaca also recently revamped its e-commerce site, Panzer said. Representing a burgeoning revenue stream headed into 2011, the site already offers more than 4,500 products, ranging from vitamins, supplements and herbs to personal care items, eco-home products and beauty essentials in hard-to-find brands. “We’ve got product that is high-value, low-cube and easy to ship that should be able to compete with the [specialty vitamin chains] on e-commerce,” Panzer said. “We’ve got a very robust site now. It’s not just geared toward product [but also] content, meaning education for the consumer on their disease states and healthcare management."

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Stater Bros. kicks off Harvesting Hope campaign

BY Allison Cerra

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. A Southern California-based supermarket chain is assisting with hunger relief throughout November and December.

Stater Bros., in conjunction with its charitable arm, Stater Bros. Charities, will host its Harvesting Hope campaign. The retailer said it is collecting nonperishable food items for struggling families and accepting additional cash donations in all 167 Stater Bros. stores. The stores also are offering customers the opportunity to purchase $10 Harvesting Hope scannable donation cards.

Each year, Stater Bros. contributes more than $15 million to assist those in need, with an emphasis on worthy programs that benefit hunger relief, health and nutrition, education and animal shelters. Stater Bros. also annually donates more than 3 million lbs of food and products to the local food banks.

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Whoopee! American Greetings brings the laughs

BY Allison Cerra

CLEVELAND Jokers will be sure to embrace the latest laugh-out-loud card line from American Greetings.

The greeting card company announced its first-ever whoopee-cushion greeting card line, called "It’s a Gas!" Each card in the collection is an actual whoopee cushion that can be signed and sent in an accompanying envelope.

 

"Consumers often tell us that surprising friends and family with the greeting cards they choose is the best part of the experience, so we are always looking for ways to introduce unexpected ideas," said Mary McClain, creative director of new product concepts at American Greetings. "With ‘It’s a Gas!,’ we have a really fun format that is silly and unique and sure to put a big smile on anyone’s face, which is what we strive for in every card we create."

 

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