Giant Eagle’s HBW pilot takes wing
PITTSBURGH —Giant Eagle is fast gaining a reputation for thinking outside of the box—or, rather, tinkering with the box—of supermarket pharmacy. The latest innovative concept is Giant Eagle’s HBW (health/beauty/wellness) concept that’s currently being piloted in four locations. If proven successful, it could become a benchmark in how to maximize a supermarket pharmacy’s true potential—threading its healthcare link from the pharmacy through a robust health, beauty and wellness department and on into the remainder of the food store.
The concept initially had rolled out in November, and within those first four months, the grocer has experienced a double-digit lift in its health and beauty business.
Weaving it all together are Giant Eagle’s healthcare professionals—the pharmacist, a pair of full-time dieticians and on-site nutritionists, and licensed aestheticians—many of whom are not only available for everyday questions, but also participate in scheduled educational sessions or healthy-food-shopping walk-throughs. “Having in-store dieticians allows us to bridge that gap [between pharmacy and food store],” Joshua Shapira, Giant Eagle director of health and wellness, and architect of the program, told Drug Store News during a tour of the new concept.
The HBW pilot department occupies between 10,000 sq. ft. and 12,000 sq. ft. Some of the highlights include a full-service pharmacy featuring a convenient drive-through window. Alongside that pharmacy is a private room for use in pharmacist-patient consultations, or in the administration of vaccinations.
The pharmacy and HBW department enjoy a dedicated entrance, as well as a dedicated checkout, sans candy bars. Behind the checkout and facing the customer is a calendar where Giant Eagle features the healthcare happenings of the week a la Starbucks-styled chalkboard flair.
Within the department itself is a supplement section expanded by some 500 SKUs and organized by function in place of brand-blocking. As part of that section, there is a refrigerator unit showcasing best-kept-cold supplements like probiotics and fish oils. There is a healthy-snack section featuring fresh fruits and nuts alongside some 8 linear ft. of homeopathy, similar to the dedicated homeopathy centers in a Whole Foods. There also is an entire aisle featuring gluten-free products, including some frozen-food gluten-free offerings housed within a freezer unit that’s been incorporated into the low-profile gondola.
In the beauty department, where a dedicated aesthetician proactively interacts with shoppers, there are several prestige cosmetic and beauty lines that typically are only available at department stores, and without the price tags many shoppers associate with those department stores. In all, the new HBW concept store has added approximately 1,000 beauty SKUs not typically found at the neighborhood grocer. The upgraded beauty department also features a selection of custom-cut natural soaps.
Interspersed throughout the HBW department is everything you’d expect to find in a typical drug store from stomach aids to analgesics to cough-cold products. The four concept stores are located in Akron, Ohio, and Wexford, New Kensington and Robinson, Pa.
Virginia lawmakers move to block plan for mandated health coverage
WASHINGTON In an act of defiance against the Obama administration’s plan for healthcare reform, the Virginia legislature this week moved to block a provision in that plan that would mandate that Americans obtain health insurance.
Health reform opponents on Thursday applauded the move, which came Tuesday when the Virginia House of Delegates passed a bill that would make it illegal to require individuals to purchase health insurance. The measure already passed the state Senate and is headed to the desk of Governor Bob McDonnell, who is expected to sign the bill into law.
That will make Virginia “the first state to protect its citizens from a federal government mandate to obtain health insurance,” according to a conservative advocacy group called Americans for Prosperity, which has bitterly opposed efforts by Democrats to reform the U.S. health system. The group also claims that a total of 37 states are considering some form of “health care freedom act.”
The White House, for its part, has long proposed some form of mandated coverage for all Americans as a means of holding down insurance costs and ensuring that healthier Americans are also included in insurance pools. Under the Obama administration’s proposal, however, much of the cost of individual coverage could be defrayed or offset by tax cuts or other financial help for individuals who can’t afford the costs of coverage.
Home health specialist Carex launches online membership program for patients
OAKLAND, Calif. A company that makes in-home health products has launched a section on its Web site for elderly people and their caregivers.
Carex Health Brands announced Thursday the launch of Carex Care Connection, at carex.com. The site allows users to share stories and find discounts and giveaways on Carex products, which include products for mobility, bathroom safety, personal care and daily living aids, pain management and others.
“Our team at Carex Health Brands genuinely cares about the welfare of seniors,” Carex VP marketing Nathalie Kim said in a statement. “In addition to our efforts to create the most innovative and quality products in the in-home health category, we want to connect directly with caregivers and the senior community.”