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Cardinal Health honors Theresa Tolle with Ken Wurster Community Leadership Award

BY Michael Johnsen

LAS VEGAS — Cardinal Health on Sunday named Theresa Tolle, owner of Bay Street Pharmacy in Sebastian, Fla., as the recipient of its Ken Wurster Community Leadership Award at its annual Retail Business Conference.

The award honors a retail independent pharmacist who promotes the ideals of community pharmacy and was created in honor of Tampa, Fla., independent pharmacist Ken Wurster. Wurster was highly regarded for his commitment to serving his customers, epitomizing the role of a pharmacist who took responsibility for the wellness of his community.

Tolle was selected from among more than 50 nominees for her extraordinary community commitment and for offering highly personalized care to her patients.

For example, Tolle employs higher-than-average pharmacy staffing ratios in her store in an effort to spend more time with patients. She also employs a registered nurse to work with diabetic patients and makes house calls. For the last three years, Tolle has been recognized by the Florida Pharmacy Association for her outstanding leadership, mentorship and motivation with the Bowl of Hygeia Award in 2008, the IPA Roman Maximo Corrons Inspiration and Motivation Award in 2009, and the Jean Lamberti Leadership/Mentorship Award in 2010.

In honor of Tolle’s commitment to community service, Cardinal Health will donate $10,000 in her name to the University of Florida College of Pharmacy.

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Walmart, SymphonyIRI to introduce Customer Advantage platform

BY Allison Cerra

CHICAGO — Just days after announcing a cooperation agreement with Nielsen, Walmart has entered a new relationship with SymphonyIRI Group, through which the two will develop a solution that supports the retailer’s customer-centric initiatives.

Walmart and SymphonyIRI Group said their next-generation, Web-based shopper insights and collaborative planning platform — called Customer Advantage — will deliver unique, custom, Walmart-focused shopper insights, while supporting Walmart’s collaborative planning process by providing a dedicated shopper insights portal of user-friendly, customizable reports shared between Walmart and its supplier partners, SymphonyIRI said.

The solution, which contains many custom features, is designed to enable manufacturers to better understand the evolving needs of Walmart’s customers and allow the retailer and its supplier partners to share the same custom knowledge.

“The Customer Advantage solution identifies and sizes opportunities among shopper segments, trips and categories that will better enable Walmart and its supplier partners to grow their businesses through a deeper understanding of our customers,” Walmart EVP global customer insights Cindy Davis said.

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Walgreens positions itself as ‘healthcare oasis’ by combating food deserts

BY Michael Johnsen

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — While Walgreens is not alone in its pledge to serve up food oasis stores across urban deserts peppered by supersize-me fast food joints and convenience stores, the Chicago-based chain certainly has made the greatest commitment. In addition, Walgreens is serving up some pretty extensive access to health care along with their focus on “fresh.”

(THE NEWS: Walgreens signs on to develop more food oasis stores. For the full story, click here)

Fielding “fresh” at the local pharmacy may be the drug channel pursuit-du-jour, but there is more here than simply selling more food in more drug stores. It’s about tackling obesity. It’s about addressing diabetes. It’s about educating people on ways to eat heart healthier. It is, in essence, about a healthier community.

“Make no mistake about it — this is a really big deal,” First Lady Michelle Obama said during the press conference commending the multitude of retailers who have so far made a commitment to build and grow healthy food offerings across the poorer inner-city neighborhoods. “The commitments we’re announcing [today] have the potential to be a game-changer for kids and communities all across this country,” she said.

Walgreens certainly recognizes that game-changing potential with its 1,000-food oasis pledge. Beyond familiarity with optimizing the front-end sales floor of a smaller footprint, Walgreens has an additional edge over its corporate retail counterparts — Take Care Health practitioners and pharmacists who aren’t hidden behind sand dunes of value deals or supermarket aisles. Walgreens represents greater access to healthcare beyond fresh fruits and just-picked vegetables. That’s why drug stores, not just Walgreens, can win with “fresh.” Because if they do it right and leverage the pharmacy, the pharmacy becomes more than that place where you “pick up your pills.” It becomes a total wellness destination; or in other words, a “healthcare oasis.”

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