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Thomas Dowd steps in as GNC’s chief merchandising officer

BY Michael Johnsen

PITTSBURGH — Thomas Dowd has been named GNC EVP, chief merchandising officer and general manager, the company announced in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Friday.

Dowd has served as EVP store operations and development since April 2007.

The move follows the announcement in June that Beth Kaplan would be stepping down from her role as GNC president and chief merchandising officer. Following that announcement, GNC CEO Joe Fortunato reassumed his role of president.

As previously reported by Drug Store News, GNC last month appointed Amy Lane to serve as a member of its board of directors in place of Kaplan. Lane, who serves as director for off-price home and fashion apparel conglomerate TJX Cos., also will serve on the board’s audit committee.

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Whole Foods makes its way to Columbia, S.C.

BY Allison Cerra

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Whole Foods will make its Columbia, S.C., debut next year.

The new store will occupy approximately 37,876 sq. ft. in the 74,326-sq.-ft. Cross Hill Market retail center.

The projected construction start date is Jan. 1, 2012, with an anticipated opening date of October 2012.

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Water warfare

BY Barbara White-Sax

PAWTUCKET, R.I. — The Super Soaker brand has been a huge hit for Hasbro. The toys have been among the hottest summer products on the market, and new upgraded versions will become the next must-have for water play. 


The newest version in the Hasbro water blaster family is the Nerf Super Soaker Thunderstorm. The Thunderstorm, introduced this spring, is the first battery-powered soaker on the market and fires a continuous stream of water with no pumping required. The firing range can be up to 25 ft. Nerf Thunderstorm requires four AA batteries and retails for $14.99.

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