Health Mart’s Canning makes good on goal to help indies compete

Health Mart’s Healthy Living Tour visited 60 stores in 13 states in 2010.

SAN FRANCISCO — For some guys, it’s just in their blood. That’s definitely the case for Tim Canning — you can say he was born into this business.

Canning, 1-of-8 children of the late, great Fred Canning — who, as president and COO of Walgreens during the late ’70s and ’80s, led a major turnaround of the company — is no doubt making his father incredibly proud these days, as he leads McKesson’s 2,700-plus-strong Health Mart stores, the fastest-growing pharmacy franchise operation in America.

Canning’s mission: to help a growing cadre of independent pharmacy operators compete against the big chains by operating more efficiently, building closer patient relationships and capturing additional revenue streams. Five years ago, it was a collection of just a few hundred stores. Today, the company has built a broad menu of clinically oriented health-and-wellness services for its customers, as well as a range of capabilities that give it some of the national branding, marketing and purchasing strengths of a corporate-owned chain.

Two strong examples of Health Mart’s “big chain” presence are a multimillion-dollar ad campaign that debuted in January 2010 during the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics, and the company’s annual Health Mart Healthy Living Tour, which visited 80 stores across 18 states last year.

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