Restructuring, new format fuse wellness, pharmacy at Weis

No. of stores: 162, No. of stores with Rx: 123

Weis Markets streamlined its internal connection between wellness and pharmacy earlier this year with an organizational restructuring that folded the Weis Lifestyle Initiatives department, led by registered dietitian Karen Buch, into the grocer’s pharmacy division. It is the first official move by a supermarket retailer to literally draw a direct line between food and pharmacy.

“We’re looking to more closely align some of the initiatives in pharmacy, which are becoming much more service oriented,” Jeff Maltese, Weis’ VP pharmacy, told Drug Store News. “There’s an opportunity for us to leverage both of those healthcare professionals — [the registered dietitian and pharmacist] — under one department.” There’s also significant opportunity to develop prevention-minded programs for those health-savvy consumers actively looking to avoid chronic illnesses, Maltese added.

The Lifestyle Initiatives team has directed such projects as Weis’ Healthy Bites publication, a free monthly magazine and social media directive touting health and better-for-you recipes. That directive now will contain a more clinical focus, he said. “We’re also going to leverage [Karen Buch’s] knowledge to educate pharmacists about how better to speak to [customers’] dietary consideration for their disease.”

Weis Markets last year overhauled its flagship format, featuring a redesigned pharmacy that makes the pharmacist more accessible. The new floor layout incorporates a dedicated pharmacy consultation room that doubles as a vaccination clinic. Medication therapy management training for all Weis pharmacists will be coming this fall.

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