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CVS/pharmacy kicks off annual ALS fundraising campaign

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS/pharmacy kicked off on June 5 its 10th annual in-store "Researching a Cure" fundraising campaign to support the fight against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Funds raised through the campaign benefit the ALS Therapy Alliance, an organization dedicated to advancing ALS research. Through the Researching a Cure campaign, CVS/pharmacy has raised more than $23 million in its stores and online to fund new clinical research with the aim of discovering a treatment or cure for ALS. The 2011 campaign will run through June 25.

ALS is a neurodegenerative disorder that is characterized by progressive degeneration of motor nerves in the brain and spinal cord, typically leading to paralysis and death within four to six years. There is no known cause or cure for ALS, which affects approximately 25,000 Americans, with 5,000 new cases diagnosed each year.

In addition to the in-store fundraising campaign, CVS/pharmacy will work with campaign co-chairs — Treg Charlton, a regional director of real estate for CVS Caremark, and Barry Winovich, Charlton’s lifelong friend — who are living with ALS, to raise awareness about the disease. Both will join celebrity sponsors — former NFL player Kevin Turner, who also has ALS, and country music star Ty Herndon — as representatives to educate the public through in-store videos and events and by sharing their own personal stories. Herndon’s inspirational "Journey On," the official song for Turner’s nonprofit ALS organization, The Kevin Turner Foundation, will prominently be featured in this year’s campaign.

Charlton, of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, was diagnosed with ALS in March 2010. Using the Researching a Cure campaign as a platform, Charlton has become an inspiration to others living with ALS.

Winovich, also of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, has battled ALS since 2006. Winovich joins Charlton, a close friend since grade school, as co-chair of the Researching a Cure campaign. Winovich is the founder of the Bright Side of the Road Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to funding scientific research into the cause of and cure for ALS.

Each year, CVS Caremark EVP Jon Roberts, who lost his wife to ALS, serves as honorary chair of the Researching a Cure campaign because of his personal connection to the disease.

"I know how difficult it can be to fight this terrible disease, and I’m amazed by Treg, Barry and Kevin’s courage and commitment to fundraising for ALS research. The stories of these young men have an impact on all of us at CVS/pharmacy, our customers and especially those living with ALS. I want to thank them and Ty Herndon for creating awareness of ALS and motivating CVS/pharmacy customers to donate to this very important campaign," Roberts said.

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A&P inks new deal with C&S Wholesale Grocers

BY Antoinette Alexander

MONTVALE, N.J. — Grocer A&P has entered into a new supply and logistics agreement with its principal wholesale supplier, C&S Wholesale Grocers, that is estimated to generate a run rate of more than $50 million in annual savings. The revised contract must be approved by the bankruptcy court.

Under the revised contract, if approved, the annual savings will be realized in cash beginning upon the company’s emergence from Chapter 11 pursuant to a plan of reorganization. The new agreement also will help the retailer generate cash savings in the short-term by improving supply chain and operational efficiency, as well as providing the company with key service enhancements.

"The approval of this new supply and logistics contract with C&S will mark a key milestone for A&P as we move forward with our restructuring," A&P president and CEO Sam Martin said. "The agreement will strengthen our existing relationship with C&S as we work together to drive service delivery and reliability enhancements and substantial efficiencies across our operations. The anticipated annual savings will significantly reduce A&P’s cost structure upon emergence from Chapter 11, while ensuring consistent product availability in our stores and greater diversity of products for our customers."

The company anticipates that the court will consider its motion on the new C&S contract at a hearing later this month.

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Investing in multichannel strategies will help retailers in long run

BY Michael Johnsen

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — Perception feeds reality. That is as true today as it was when the economy first started its rollercoaster plunge back in 2008. The perception is that the consumer is on her way back. And while that is fast becoming reality, today’s retailer will be looking to commit its capital expenditures to more than just the traditional new Main-and-Main locations.

(THE NEWS: Survey: Retail industry capital spending to rise 16% in 2011. For the full story, click here)

Retailers today are making significant investments into their multichannel strategies, including online and social media, and that’s because new stores aren’t necessarily the most economical way to generate that wow factor and positive shopping experience. Consumers only are cautiously optimistic about the immediate future of the economy, which means many of the value-driven shopping habits that were learned over the course of this latest recession are here to stay.

And two of the things consumers learned were how to comparison shop at the shelf with their smartphones and how to identify deal opportunities through such sites as Facebook and a myriad of extreme coupon-driven blogs.

Shoppers no longer are expressing their preferences by driving across the lot in favor of one retailer over another. Along with their community of “friends,” they’re “liking” their favorite retailers long before that key goes into the ignition, and likely have done their comparison-shopping long before they’ve walked into the store. And, they post the really good deals on their Facebook pages so that all of their friends can take advantage, too.

Investing in new multichannel avenues more completely satisfies the needs of today’s shoppe r— giving the consumer what they want, when they want it and where they want to get it. That multichannel consumer is worth three times the value of the shopper who only visits Main-and-Main, according to Walgreens.

Editor’s Note: For more on what Walgreens and other retailers are doing to own the multichannel consumer, see “Think. Click. Buy,” the cover story of the current issue of DSN, here.

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