PHARMACY

Small-town service forms pharmacy familiarity for Fruth customers

BY Alaric DeArment

POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — A customer visiting any of Fruth Pharmacy’s 25 stores in West Virginia and southern Ohio will find many of the same products and services one would find at any national chain pharmacy; but on top of that, the chain offers a highly personal approach to retailing.
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The thing that sets Fruth apart is excellent customer service,” Fruth Pharmacy president Lynne Fruth told Drug Store News. “It’s kind of a mix of the best of what the bigger chains can provide with that small-hometown service.”


Stores have employees — including pharmacists and cashiers — who have worked there for 20 years or more, which creates a sense of familiarity for customers. The chain, which has around $135 million in sales per year, also pays special attention to the customers, offering such services as home delivery and having employees who go the extra mile for customers by helping them carry purchased items to their cars. In June, Fruth offered happy birthday wishes to customer Dorothy Shamblin of Nitro, W.Va., for her 100th birthday.

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PHARMACY

Kerr Drug sustains its innovator reputation … ‘Naturally’

BY Jim Frederick

RALEIGH, N.C. — Kerr Drug, North Carolina’s regional pharmacy power, had a busy year in 2010. After shedding 11 stores in the Charleston, S.C., market in 2009, the 90-store chain turned its full focus to serving the healthcare needs of North Carolina’s population.


It was, in retrospect, a wise move. Kerr has launched a series of initiatives in pharmacy care, store design, community health services and iPhone technology at a breathtaking pace, easily sustaining its reputation as one of chain pharmacy’s leading innovators. 


Those innovations are coming both from the pharmacy and clinical-care side of the business, and from the front-end merchandising effort, led by SVP marketing and merchandising Bill Baxley. Key architect of Naturally Kerr, a “store-within-a-store” format that offers natural and organic foods and homeopathic remedies, Baxley is a leader in the chain’s ongoing store renewal project, which has led to constant evolution in store design and development of a groundbreaking hybrid store that blends Kerr’s Community Healthcare Center concept with a full-service drug store, including a front end with improved sightlines and lower gondolas.


The effort may lead to the debut of a new store format in 2011, a company source indicated. 


Kerr’s healthcare innovations remain unrivalled. In partnership with the University of North Carolina, Kerr conducted a pilot study that demonstrated the health and cost-saving benefits of pharmacist-delivered interventions and medication therapy management. It also continues to attract recognition for its community care efforts in diabetes management, smoking cessation, disease prevention, pharmacogenomics and other areas.


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Indy franchisees a model of pharmacy ‘Care’ in nation’s capital

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — It’s a 53-store collection of independents that serves as a model of neighborhood pharmacy to the nation’s lawmakers. That’s in part thanks to the number of Care pharmacies operating in the nation’s capital and in part due to the franchisee-owned group’s proximity to the headquarters of the National Community Pharmacist Association, which is located across the hall.


“[That proximity] really is an opportunity for us to represent independent pharmacy,” said Michael Wysong, Care CEO. 


Looking forward, Care continues to target growth of 30% on top of the group’s purchasing volume each year. With an estimated 2009 sales volume of $215 million, Care will be bringing on several new franchisee/owners in New Jersey and Pennsylvania early in 2011. “The interest in Care is really starting to stretch outside of our normal boundaries of Washington, D.C.; Maryland; and Northern Virginia,” Wysong said. 


Also within the Care family is a strong specialty pharmacy vibe. Care has been the exclusive administrator of Washington’s DC AIDS Drug Assistance Program contract for the past eight years. In addition, many Care pharmacies pursue various specialty pharmacy disciplines — some of the largest fertility pharmacies in the country operate under the Care banner, for example.

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