AquaHydrate grows U.S. retail distribution
LOS ANGELES — AquaHydrate Inc., a Southern California-based health and fitness water company, announced today expanded retail distribution across the West and Midwest regions of the United States.
In the west, AquaHydrate launched into grocery and drug store chains: Walgreens in Los Angeles and San Diego (230 stores); Savemart (240 stores); Raley’s (128 stores); Pharmaca (25 stores); High Health (38 stores); Superior Grocery (35 stores); and Vallarta Grocery (44 stores).
In the mid-west, AquaHydrate launched in Cub Foods (80 stores) across the Minneapolis/St. Paul region and recently finalized a deal with Mahaska Bottling to be distributed in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and South Dakota.
"We are experiencing a tremendous amount of growth and we are definitely not slowing down any time soon. When you have a great product that is backed by a solid team with a clear vision the brand is able to achieve maximum success," says Nate Puksta, VP, marketing.
AquaHydrate contains a combination of high pH, electrolytes and minerals, which helps restore balance to the body, fuels "supercharged hydration" and helps people perform at the top of their game, "No Matter What" drives them, the company stated.
AquaHydrate comes in recognizable blue bottles in three sizes: 1 L (SRP $2.29), 700 mL sport-top (SRP $1.79) and 500 mL bottles (SRP $1.19), prices may vary. AquaHydrate is available at Kroger Co. and Safeway Inc. grocery stores, GNC and a variety of additional grocery, health and natural foods stores throughout the U.S., as well as online at www.aquahydrate.com.
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Rite Aid to refinance $400 million worth of debt
CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid announced Monday a new debt-refinancing plan, the second such plan in two weeks.
The company announced that it would offer for sale a new series of senior notes due 2021 worth $400 million, which would be unsecured, unsubordinated obligations of Rite Aid Corp. and would be guaranteed by the company. The retailer said on June 7 that it would purchase $500 million worth of 7.5% senior notes due 2017.
Proceeds from the offering will be used to redeem $400 million of the company’s outstanding 9.5% senior notes due 2017.
Rite Aid’s debt currently stands at about $6 billion, according to the company’s 2013 annual report.
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Q&A with Stephen Courtman: The next steps for Health Mart
DSN talks to Health Mart president Stephen Courtman about how Health Mart is helping its members stay competitive through new programs and services aimed at improving patient lives and growing profits.
DSN: What is new for Health Mart members at McKesson ideaShare this year?
Steve Courtman: One of the themes of McKesson ideaShare this year is “Better pharmacy health starts here.” The attendees truly come to learn and collaborate, reinforcing our shared commitment to achieving better pharmacy health. For Health Mart members and prospects, we are here to show them how they can run a better business with Health Mart, achieve better results with Health Mart and create a better future with Health Mart. Ultimately, by leveraging our scale and proving value to our customers, we firmly believe that our members are better together with Health Mart.
We’ll feature a full range of solutions for all McKesson ideaShare attendees, but I want to focus on a few that are specifically designed to help Health Marts compete locally and position themselves as a healthcare destination.
We are very excited about our new Local Marketing Support program, which provides more flexible matching funds for marketing expenses. Matching funds can now be applied to a whole catalog of customizable promotions and hands-on support from local marketing specialists. The new program will make it easier for pharmacies to grow their business by attracting new patients and driving new revenue.
We also have invested heavily in digital marketing tools with the re-launch of Healthmart.com and Your Pharmacy Online. Now, our members have access to powerful online tools that offer a professional and contemporary online presence — without having to spend a fortune. We’ll also unveil a new Your Pharmacy Online offering at the show, so stay tuned for more on that.
DSN: Health Mart recently passed 3,000 stores. What’s next?
Courtman: Rapidly growing from a few hundred pharmacies to more than 3,100, Health Mart has been a compelling success story in retail pharmacy over the past several years. Much of this success has been driven through the commitment of Health Mart owners and pharmacists to delivering exceptional customer service. And we are very proud of our member pharmacies for being ranked highest in customer satisfaction by J.D. Power and Associates for the third time in four years.
It is our job to leverage this success and passion by continuing to deliver innovative solutions that help them address their most pressing needs — fueling their growth and success through the rapid adoption of operational efficiencies, technology innovation and expanded clinical capabilities. With the changing dynamics in the industry, Health Mart must be more unified than ever, leveraging the national brand and commitment to personalized service. The key to Health Mart’s future is collaboration — and McKesson ideaShare is a great place to start.
DSN: How is Health Mart helping member pharmacies stay competitive by offering new types of services to patients?
Courtman: This is a critical time for retail pharmacies to leverage their role as healthcare service providers, and we believe the pharmacies that will stay competitive will consistently deliver clinical interactions that improve patient health while managing costs. Health Marts, and all community pharmacies, must leverage their local relationships to maximize existing clinical services and adopt emerging clinical services that provide additional value.
We have an entire section of the Health Mart pavilion at McKesson ideaShare devoted to clinical services and adherence solutions. Attendees will learn more about how they can deliver enhanced patient support, including vaccinations programs, adherence training and behavior coaching, refill reminders, medication synchronization and compliance packaging.
DSN: What are the biggest opportunities for Health Mart members in the coming year?
Courtman: Whether we look at it as an opportunity or a challenge, the growing movement to accountable care and performance-based networks will likely be the major focus over the coming year. As payers transition from transaction-based reimbursement, their expectations also are shifting to focus on outcomes and results. In order to control the cost of care, payers will control where they send their “lives.”
As Health Mart, we will need to act in unity and deliver measurable clinical performance that demonstrates to payers that we can make an impact on clinical care and results. And finally, we must continue to grow and maintain our national identity so that patients understand that Health Mart is a destination for personalized, quality care.
Prior to joining Health Mart, Courtman served as SVP retail markets at Medco Health Solutions, where he was responsible for contracting with independent and chain pharmacies and the creation of pharmacy networks to deliver value to plan sponsors. Under his leadership, Medco invested in technology and infrastructure to support aggressive growth and respond to the industry’s changing landscape. Previously, Courtman served in various capacities in the aerospace, automotive, healthcare and restaurant-franchise industries. He earned a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of London and an MBA from the University of Michigan.