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Walgreens taps local vendors for Hawaii store opening

BY Jim Frederick

HONOLULU As it gears up for the grand opening of its first Hawaii store, Walgreen Co. said it is reaching out to dozens of local vendors to supply the store, set to open Nov. 1 on the site of a former Tower Records outlet on busy Kapiolani Boulevard in this bustling metro market.

Dana Psomas, district manager for the company’s new Hawaii operation, said Walgreens is setting up accounts with more than 50 local suppliers to help create a shopping environment that caters to the specific tastes of Hawaiian consumers. “We’re committed to offering a broad selection of local products so that from the first day, our customers feel at home in our stores,” said Psomas. “We’re especially proud to have so many local suppliers represented in a store smaller than our typical size.

“We’ve learned from our vendors what is important to Hawaii’s customers, and that’s reflected in our merchandise offerings.”

Those offerings will go beyond products that are traditionally supplied locally, such as bread, dairy products, soft drinks and water, according to Walgreens. The company is also using local suppliers for product categories that include candy, local snacks, grocery items, automotive needs, souvenirs and greeting cards.

“Being new to the market, their assistance is invaluable to us,” said the DM. “We want to…merchandise our stores to the local community, neighborhood by neighborhood.”

Walgreens plans to open three additional Hawaii stores in the second half of 2008 and eventually operate 25-30 stores across the state.

Marking another milestone, Walgreens will stage the grand opening of its 6,000th drug store Wednesday in New Orleans. The store, located in the city’s historic Carrollton neighborhood, is the company’s 48th unit in New Orleans, and marks an ongoing comeback for both the local Walgreens operation and the city itself following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

“And the growth will continue,” noted Walgreens in a statement. “By the end of next year, Walgreens will have more stores in the New Orleans metro area than it did prior to…Katrina.”

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Rite Aid-sponsored walk raises more than $600,000 for diabetes association

BY Michael Johnsen

PHILADELPHIA More than $600,000 was raised for the American Diabetes Association Saturday as men and women from across the country climbed more than 1,000 stairs and walked 10 miles throughout Philadelphia in the first Step Up to Fight Diabetes fund-raising challenge that was sponsored by Rite Aid. The Step Up event raised mondy for research, education and advocacy efforts of the association.

During Step Up, participants went on a “climbing tour” of Philadelphia beginning at Temple University’s Liacouras Center and ending at the well-known Philadelphia Museum of Art—running up those steps was immortalized by Sylvester Stallone in the film Rocky.

“Diabetes is the fastest-growing disease in America and the incidence of the disease is four percent higher in Philadelphia than the national average,” stated American Diabetes Association chief executive officer Larry Hausner. “Our hope is that Step Up can spread awareness about diabetes and raise money for a cure.”

Other Step Up to Fight Diabetes sponsors included Merck, AstraZeneca and the Temple University Health System Transport Team.

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Spartan announces plans for acquired Felpausch stores

BY Allison Cerra

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. Spartan Stores is focusing on integrating its newly acquired Felpausch grocery stores into its network during the second half of its 2008 fiscal year.

Spartan expects the Hastings-based, 20-store Felpausch acquisition in June to add about $85 million in sales during the fiscal year. About $4 million to $5 million will be spent, with five store remodelings during the next two quarters.

During last week’s conference call, which discussed the company’s second quarter earnings, officials told analysts that they plan to spend $1.5 million to $2 million for merchandise changes, store remodeling and employee training in its third and fourth quarters.

Spartan, known as the country’s 10th-largest grocery distributor, with close to 400 independent grocery stores as customers in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio, also owns 88 grocery stores in Michigan and 14 drug stores in Ohio, including Family Fare Supermarkets, D&W Fresh Markets, Glen’s Markets, Felpausch Food Centers and The Pharm.

Spartan plans to renovate the stores and rename them either Family Fare or D&W, depending on market demographics.

Spartan reported that its net sales for the quarter reached a six-year high, with $627.1 million, or a 13.5 percent increase over the $552.6 million for the same time period last year.

Net earnings for the second quarter reached $9.1 million, or 42 cents per share, compared to $9.3 million, or 44 cents per share last year.

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