At 75, Lewis more relevant than ever
I never understood people who root against the hometown team. I once knew a New York Yankees fan that was pulling for the Boston Red Sox in the 1986 World Series. (Are you kidding me — the FLIPPING Red Sox?!) I bet him $50 just on principal; what kind of demented Yankees fan could ever root for the Red Sox to beat another New York team? Surely, this is the kind of sick lunatic that the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, the CIA and just about every federal and local law enforcement agency in the country should have on a watch list.
In this issue, Drug Store News gives it up for Sioux Falls’ own Lewis Drug, which this year celebrates its 75th year in operation. “People recognize us as the home team,” Lewis president and CEO Mark Griffin told DSN.
“I think ‘locally owned’ still resonates with a good percentage of consumers,” added SVP of merchandise and marketing Bob Meyer.
To be sure, there is a lot more than just the blind loyalty of a core group of “homer” fans that has kept Lewis a strong and growing force in the markets it competes in. Today, Lewis Drug is as relevant to its core shopper as it has ever been. The company has done it through a slightly eclectic mix by drug store standards — Lewis sells more garden supplies than the local Home Depot and Lowe’s stores, is one of the largest dealers of Weber grills in its markets and operates massive pet departments that are giving nearby PetSmarts a run for their money, according to company executives — and a close relationship with local customers. Lewis is not just in the community, it is an integral part of the community.
“We want customers to care about us as a local business, a family business and one that’s very connected and gives back to the community,” offered Lewis VP Nikki Griffin.
Lewis’s connection to the community runs deep. Some of the bigger social programs it has initiated over the years include an annual coat drive for homeless and low-income adults, now in its third year; an annual charity golf tournament, which this year raised $65,000 for local charities; the Lewis Cares Foundation, which was created by Meyer, and partners the chain with its vendors to pledge a percentage of revenues from the purchase of certain products; and a Lewis garden center promotion that provides one needy family with a complete backyard makeover.
If you ask Mark Griffin, he’ll tell you that Lewis’s connection to the community and its hometown customers is stronger than it has been in many years. “There was a period when that wasn’t important, when the big boxes opened up and the message was just price, price, price,” Griffin said. “Now, people value the home team … and I think that’s gaining ground again.”
WBA and Rite Aid withdraw deal for 2,000-plus stores, to refile Friday
DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens Boots Alliance and Rite Aid on Wednesday filed notice with the Securities and Exchange Commission that the companies would be withdrawing its initial deal to acquire 2,186 Rite Aid stores, and will refile that agreement by Friday, August 18.
That will reset the clock on the waiting period under the HSR Act with to Sept. 18, 2017, unless otherwise extended or terminated.
Following the termination of the deal to acquire Rite Aid outright, Walgreens Boots Alliance and Rite Aid on June 29 had agreed to a new deal under which Walgreens Boots Alliance would purchase almost 2,200 stores and three distribution centers from Rite Aid for $5.2 billion in cash.
“This new transaction extends our growth strategy and offers additional operational and financial benefits,” Stefano Pessina, Walgreens Boots Alliance executive vice chairman and CEO, stated at the time of the June announcement. “It will allow us to expand and optimize our retail pharmacy network in key markets in the U.S., including the Northeast, and provide customers and patients with greater access to convenient, affordable care.”
SPINS partners with Natural Commerce, a Direct Eats Company
CHICAGO — SPINS on Wednesday announced an exclusive partnership with e-commerce innovator Natural Commerce, a Direct Eats Company.
“We can build the endless aisle for our retail customers almost instantly with our access to an immense range of key health and wellness products,” stated David Hack, CEO Natural Commerce. “Our partnership with SPINS gives us top insights into maintaining the selection today’s shoppers want, and as we grow our network with SPINS’ broad coalition of innovative retailers, we can continue to exponentially increase exposure and opportunity for health and wellness brands.”
“Natural Commerce is disrupting what used to be real barriers to entry into the omnichannel marketplace,” noted Tony Olson, CEO SPINS. "SPINS is ready to help brands and brick-and-mortar retailers adapt, grow and win with e-commerce. Leveraging Natural Commerce solutions in collaboration with the SPINS Product Library will change the game for our shared brand clients and retail partners.”
With the shift to online grocery expected to grow by 300% over the next two years (from 4% to 12% of overall grocery spend), Natural Commerce helps brands and retailers maximize their opportunity. Natural Commerce provides turnkey e-commerce solutions that allow brick-and-mortar retailers to go to market in months and to leverage and maintain their shopper data. The company also enables brands to offer an expanded product assortment across a greater number of outlets, thereby helping both brands and retailers maximize their share of wallet in the omnichannel marketplace.
As a key central aggregator for the e-commerce space, Natural Commerce leverages the power of group buying and a lower cost of goods to benefit all consumers on one central platform.