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Vendors talk about what Cardinal Health RBC means for them – Part 2

BY Alaric DeArment

ScriptPro — Kevin and Lauren Combs
DSN: Given that it’s such a commitment of time and money to come to a conference like RBC, what do you hope to accomplish here?
Kevin Combs, VP sales: We get a chance to talk to our independent customers, and Cardinal has been doing this show for years. We also get a chance to showcase some of our more popular products.
DSN: How are independents important to your business?
KC: Our first clients were independent clients, and they’re a critical focal point to our business. If independents stay in business, we stay in business.
DSN: What’s a message you would like to send to attendees?
KC: Pharmacy is changing rapidly, and for you to really continue to grow your business, you really need to embrace technology.

2. Bio-Oil
DSN: Given that it’s such a commitment of time and money to come to a conference like RBC, what do you hope to accomplish here?
Carolyn Harrington, consultant: Exposure to pharmacists of our products, and orders.
DSN: How are independents important to your business?
CH: Our product is sold over the counter at practically all pharmacies, and independents are just as important as the big stores. If a patient comes up to a pharmacist asking, what would you recommend for scars, they can say we have Bio-Oil.
DSN: What’s a message you would like to send to attendees?
CH: Bio-Oil is a wonderful, multi-use skin oil. We hope you’ll not only refer your customers to it, but we appreciate that you’ll make a profit from it.

3. Upsher-Smith — Karri Theis Tabitha Smith
DSN: Given that it’s such a commitment of time and money to come to a conference like RBC, what do you hope to accomplish here?
Karri Theis, retail account representative: Promoting our products and our product lines at Upsher-Smith, meeting a lot of the customers we don’t get to see, and face-to-face interaction.
DSN: How are independents important to your business?
KT: They’re very important. Some of our mainstay products are sold to independents. They’re a big piece of our business, just as much as the big chains. A lot of the independent pharmacists have more time to focus on the patient, and we appreciate that at Upsher-Smith.
DSN: What’s a message you would like to send to attendees?
KT: I would thank them for their business and thank them for attending this show.

4. Roxane Labs
DSN: Given that it’s such a commitment of time and money to come to a conference like RBC, what do you hope to accomplish here?
Steven Simone, senior product manager: We’re here to support our customer, Cardinal. We want to spend some time with our Cardinal affiliates.
DSN: How are independents important to your business?
SS: Many of our products are sold through independents and wholesalers like Cardinal. Independents dispense more medications than most people realize.
DSN: What’s a message you would like to send to attendees?
SS: Thank you for your support. It’s been a pleasure serving you.

5. PharmaSmart — Danielle Mariano Stephen Hutton
DSN: Given that it’s such a commitment of time and money to come to a conference like RBC, what do you hope to accomplish here?
Danielle Mariano, director of business development, US: Well, obviously we enjoy coming to the trade shows because it allows us to connect not only with our existing customers, but find potential new customers. We get that face-to-face element.
DSN: How are independents important to your business?
Steve Hutton, pharmacy services team leader: Honestly, they’re extremely important to our business. I admire them. They’re entrepreneurs. We customize our kiosks for them. They’re the lifeblood of our company. They’re definitely very important to us.
DSN: What’s a message you would like to send to attendees?
DM: I think we’d just say we’re grateful for all the people who attend the shows. I think we’ve seen about 90% of the people here, and it’s great they take the time to come.

6. PharmaCare US
DSN: Given that it’s such a commitment of time and money to come to a conference like RBC, what do you hope to accomplish here?
Kimberly Weld, VP sales and marketing: Since a high proportion of independents display better brand loyalty, we find they really believe in a brand and are willing to recommend it to their customers. They are interested in recommending something that works, not just something they get a higher profit margin on.
DSN: How are independents important to your business?
KW: They have a real interest in the science behind a product and are willing to recommend something that really works.
DSN: What’s a message you would like to send to attendees?
KW: I think [that] we appreciate the service that independents are providing to their community.

 

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Target to open store in Pa.

BY Alaric DeArment

MINNEAPOLIS — Target is opening a new store in King of Prussia, Pa., the mass-merchandise chain said Monday.

The 165,000-sq. ft. store will include fresh produce, fresh meat and packaged backed goods, as well as a pharmacy, optical center and in-store Starbucks, employing 200 to 250 people. The store will donate to local chapters of the United Way, Feeding America and grant programs.

"Pennsylvania continues to be a strong market for Target, and we’re eager to expand our presence in the state this year," Target SVP northeast stores Samir Shah said. "We look forward to bringing our ‘Expect More. Pay Less.’ brand promise and strong legacy of giving back to the community to King of Prussia residents."

 

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‘Boo-yah’ for Rite Aid

BY Alaric DeArment

In a segment of CNBC’s "Mad Money" program, host Jim Cramer proclaimed "Rite Aid is back" when a caller asked for the former hedge fund manager’s opinion about the Camp Hill, Pa.-based retail pharmacy chain. "Rite Aid is good. … It is an OK situation. The group is strong," Cramer said.

Cramer’s proclamation only confirmed what Drug Store News has been saying for a while now, ever since it became clear that Rite Aid had hit pay dirt with its Wellness+ loyalty card program, growing sales and reversing several years of annual and quarterly losses. In April 2013, the company posted its first profitable fiscal year since 2007.

But it’s not just a fluke in the stock markets, where Rite Aid’s shares opened at $3.55 Monday morning. The company’s fortunes are the result of a dramatic change in its fundamentals, including further growth of the Wellness+ program — and enhancements to the program like Wellness+ for Diabetes and the recently launched Wellness65+ for seniors — and Wellness store remodels.

As company executives like chairman and CEO John Standley and president and COO Ken Martindale have told DSN in interviews, it’s all about the employees whom the company prides on customer service, and the customers themselves.

Such people include Wellness Ambassadors, who walk the aisles of Wellness stores with iPads and provide information about OTC products and health and wellness services, as well as venturing out into the community to help sponsor flu clinics and promote the store. The company has said that its Wellness Ambassadors help make a difference in Wellness stores’ sales, whose front-end comps exceed those of non-Wellness stores by more than 3%.

As Cramer would put it, "Boo-yah!"

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