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‘Iron Andy,’ athlete and diabetic, offers inspiration as he competes

BY Jim Frederick

VALLEY FORGE, Pa. —The tens of millions of Americans coping with the effects of type 1 or type 2 diabetes might well draw some inspiration from a muscular, charismatic type 1 diabetic and Ironman competitor who’s appearing at independent drug stores and health fairs nationwide.

Andy Holder, better known as “Iron Andy,” is touring the country to compete in a grueling series of Ironman events and demonstrate how to overcome the limitations imposed by the disease. As spokesman for the “Managing Diabetes: Living Without Limits” campaign sponsored by Good Neighbor Pharmacy and The Diabetes Shoppe—both divisions of AmerisourceBergen—Holder is wrapping up a year-long series of Ironman competitions, motivational speaking events and public appearances to raise awareness about diabetes management.

Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2005 at age 36, Holder said he was determined not to let the disease hold him back. As a lifelong athlete, he decided to take control of the disease and inspire others by becoming an Ironman competitor.

As an Ironman, Holder must swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and run a full marathon of 26.2 miles. His intense training schedule requires him to check his glucose levels a dozen times a day, including while running and riding his bike. Holder’s endocrinologist, certified diabetes educator and local Diabetes Shoppe pharmacist help him safely manage his disease during extreme training and competition.

“With the support of my healthcare team, I am able to manage a disease that could have limited my ability to live my life the way I wanted,” Holder said. “Because I am dealing with diabetes around the clock and learning new things every day about managing the disease, I could not train successfully for the Ironman without the knowledge, accessibility and emotional support of my Diabetes Shoppe pharmacist.”

The Diabetes Shoppe is located within roughly 1,100 independent drug stores, primarily in participating Good Neighbor Pharmacies, the retail service and marketing umbrella operated by AmerisourceBergen. The in-store centers offer diabetes products, individualized service and access to trained diabetes professionals.

Holder’s final tour stop is this month in Sugarland, Texas. However, he will continue in the role of spokesman for GNP, according to AmerisourceBergen spokeswoman Kim Mitchell.

Jerry Meece, a CDE and Diabetes Shoppe pharmacist at Plaza Pharmacy and WellnessCenter in Gainesville, Texas, one of the first freestanding pharmacies in the country to achieve provider education recognition from the American Diabetes Association, called Holder “a great role model to remind diabetes patients that disease management is not only important to staying healthy and active, but is key to reaching lifestyle goals.”

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Fred’s reports both monthly and quarterly record sales

BY Allison Cerra

MEMPHIS, Tenn. Fred’s Inc. reported record sales for the five-week and eight-month periods which ended Oct. 6, 2007.

The company said Friday that its total sales for the month increased 2 percent to $161.4 million compared to the same period last year. Total sales for the year-to-date period increased 5 percent to $1.157 billion.

Same store sales for the month rose 1 percent on top of a 5 percent increase in September last year. On a comparable store basis, sales increased 1.3 percent through the first eight months of fiscal 2007 compared with a 2.7 percent gain in the year-earlier period. Same-store sales are a key predictor of how well the company performs in stores that have been open for several years, and how well the newly open stores will do in the future.

“September sales came in at the low end of our forecasted range of a 1 percent to 3 percent increase, affected by unusually warm weather across our markets and the disruption caused by the updating of 98 stores under our refresher program,” said Fred’s Stores chief executive officer Michael J. Hayes. “We look forward to finishing our refresher program in October with the last 60 stores and to a better economic environment for our customers going forward, as the benefits of the minimum wage increase and the focus of Federal Reserve Board on the credit crunch take hold.”

Fred’s opened four stores at the end of September, bringing total store openings to 22 for the year-to-date period. These new store openings have been balanced by the company’s decision to close underperforming stores. In the remaining months, Fred’s Stores said that it plans to open 14 additional stores, with no further planned closings, which will result in a net increase in stores of 2 percent for the year.

Fred’s Inc. operates 702 discount general merchandise stores, including 24 franchised stores in the southeastern United States.

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Target to open another 61 stores nationwide

BY Allison Cerra

MINNEAPOLIS Target announced that it will be opening an additional 61 Target stores, the company said Friday.

The stores, which will all open Oct. 14, will open in 22 different states. The majority of the stores are making their debut in Arizona, California, Ohio and Texas.

In addition to offering the latest in trend-right merchandise, Target also brings a 44-year tradition of community involvement. The retail chain commits itself to local communities donating more than $3 million each week to area nonprofit organizations, becoming involved in local volunteerism efforts through Target Volunteers, and orchestrating other special projects that help meet area social service, arts and education needs.

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