As long as charity begins somewhere
Stuffing the last of my sweaty clothes into my bag, the peace and tranquility of my “killer” 90-minute chest/ abs workout was instantly shattered by the sound of the blowhard holding court in the far corner of the locker room. A real “mook,” as we would call him in my family.
“What about all the [expletive] poor people in the Bronx?” the family-sized box of Twinkies with legs barked at his friends, recounting the simply heroic tale of his encounter earlier that day with the naive kid from Save the Children. “You should come uptown if you want to save somebody.”
“You ever do any volunteer work?” one of his friends asked.
“Nah—I ain’t got no time for that [expletive].”
As this issue went to press, it was two weeks since Magalie Normil received her official U.S. citizenship. Magalie works as a public policy coordinator for the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, and she was born in Haiti. She returned to Haiti for the first time in June as part of a health mission funded by her family’s church in Nashville.
“We always felt like when we did go back to Haiti, there would be something to go back to,” she recalled in a 13-minute audio journal of her trip, in which she helped distribute relief packages of food, medical supplies and other essential items donated by NACDS member companies.
Separately, the NACDS Foundation donated a total of $150,000 to the relief effort. NACDS Foundation president Edith Rosato and manager of foundation programs and education Jennifer Sargeant accompanied a team from Convoy of Hope—one of three organizations the foundation selected to receive the funds—helping deliver aid throughout the region. “This will not take three months or six months,” Rosato told the interviewer in a brief video filmed by Convoy of Hope, “it will take many years to rebuild Haiti.”
“You hear it on the news—you see the photos of it…and you really have no idea,” Sergeant said. “What you’re seeing are the ‘things.’ When you’re here you see the people.”
It’s OK if you believe charity begins at home—so long as you believe it begins somewhere. Because in this big, scary world, where the ground literally can open up and swallow everything you ever loved and everything you ever had, each of us has a responsibility to something beyond just ourselves. That’s something I was lucky enough to learn at St. Francis Xavier High School. It’s nice to be a part of an industry where the people in it believe that’s true.
As for the mook in the locker room, I’m reminded of another Xavier lesson: Any idiot can buy a gym membership; you can’t buy class.
CVS’ future rests on front-end, private-label evolution
NEW YORK CVS Caremark has no doubt been a trailblazer in the healthcare arena, positioning itself along the front lines to leverage its various points of care to improve outcomes and lower healthcare costs. But with all that CVS Caremark has done and will continue to do in the healthcare space — and it is no doubt a lot — it still has more than 7,000 retail locations, and the front of the store continues to be a critical part of its business and a major growth driver for the company.
(THE NEWS: At his last analyst day, Ryan sets out course for future CVS Caremark. For the full story, click here)
The front end is an $18 billion business for CVS and to be sure the company continues to look for ways to drive even more productivity out of its stores. It comes as no surprise that one area it will target for additional growth is private label. Private-label penetration currently stands at 17%, and over the next two to three years, company executives expect that number to grow to more than 20%.
"Private-label brands continue to grow and evolve. In this economy, consumers have shown that they are much more willing to try private-label products," Mike Bloom, EVP merchandising and supply chain, told analysts during Friday’s 2010 analyst meeting in New York. He noted that by the end of 2010, CVS/pharmacy will have nearly 5,100 private-label items storewide, which is an increase of 900 items versus last year. Each year, the company adds about 900 new private-label items and leverages ExtraCare to encourage trials among cardholders.
What is news, particularly to suppliers, is that a key component of CVS’ private-label program is an entirely new line that the company plans to introduce in February 2011, called Just The Basics — named to clearly communicate its functional, value-priced, smart, simplicity positioning. What is significant is that the new line is not a national-brand-equivalent type execution, but rather, more of a basic entry-point, low-price alternative.
"Now, while many retailers are stuck in the brand-follower mode of the 1980s, we have evolved to a leadership role," Bloom said.
The company also is increasingly turning to "treasure hunt" items and is using its circulars to drive front-end sales. For example, it recently promoted a WiFi-capable Netbook for $99.99 on the front page of its circular. While a Netbook isn’t your traditional drug store product offering, it has proven to be a hit among shoppers. CVS sold $3 million worth of Netbooks in three weeks, and it will be a $15 million item at CVS, the company said.
Then there’s beauty. As the article states, CVS is piloting a mini format of its Healthy Skincare Centers (in 120 stores) and will launch in January an ExtraCare Beauty Club.
Clearly the front end continues to be a significant growth driver for CVS and that will continue to be the case for a long time to come.
Natural rodent repellant Fresh Cab available at retail
BISMARCK, N.D. An all-natural rodent repellant continues to gain a stronger retail presence with more than 3 million pouches sold, which come in convenient four-pack boxes.
Earth-Kind’s Fresh Cab, created by gardener and environmentalist Warberg Block, uses ground corn cobs soaked in essential botanical oils and packaged in small biodegradable pouches.
Fresh Cab is sold at 15,000 home, garden, hardware and farm and ranch stores throughout the nation.