PHARMACY

Meijer opens first upper peninsula stores

BY Brian Berk

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Meijer on Thursday opened new supercenters in Escanaba and Sault Ste. Marie today, marking the retailer's first stores in Michigan's upper peninsula. The 192,000-sq.-ft. stores bring shoppers a “one-stop shopping experience” that features “high-quality” merchandise, grocery delivered daily and a full-service pharmacy that makes family health care a priority.

With 113 stores throughout Michigan, the new upper peninsula locations are built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards and are the latest in a $375 million investment this year that includes the construction of seven new Meijer supercenters and remodel projects for 22 additional stores in Indianapolis, IllinoisMichiganOhio and Kentucky. The Grand Rapids, Mich.-based family-owned retailer, which opened its first store in 1934, now has more than 230 stores throughout the Midwest.

"It is truly a proud day for us to cross the bridge into the upper peninsula and bring the Meijer experience to shoppers in Escanaba and Sault Ste. Marie," co-chairman Hank Meijer said. "Since opening our first store in Greenville, Mich., 83 years ago, we've always strived to bring stores to communities looking for a one-stop shopping experience. We're looking forward to providing our new neighbors the service, quality, selection and low prices that Meijer customers have come to expect."

In addition to the retailer's traditional grocery and merchandise, garden center, and 24-hour gas station at each store, the Escanaba and Sault Ste. Marie pharmacies will feature a drive-thru pick up and the company's free prescription program. The prescription program includes leading oral generic antibiotics with a special focus on prescriptions most often filled for children, prenatal vitamins, and medications for those with diabetes and high cholesterol. Since its inception in 2006, the program has filled more than 38 million free prescriptions, saving Meijer customers more than $516 million. 

The stores also demonstrated their commitment to the community by making donations to local organizations. Store director Sandy Molosky presented $25,000 to the Sault Ste. Marie Area Public Schools to help support its Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports Program. Escanaba Store Director Jeff Rietzman presented $25,000 to the Escanaba Area Public Schools to help upgrade playgrounds and athletic facilities.

As part of its grand opening celebration, the new Meijer locations will feature a variety of events beginning Sunday, May 21. The first 200 customers to enter the store after 6 a.m. on May 21 will receive a Meijer mystery gift card with a value of $5, $10 or $20.

"Our teams have exceeded expectations every step of the way as we prepared for these openings," Meijer president and CEO Rick Keyes said. "Our top priority is to serve customers, and we're ready to provide our upper peninsula neighbors the shopping experience they deserve."

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PHARMACY

Kelley-Ross Pharmacy Group promotes 2 pharmacists

BY David Salazar

SEATTLE — Kelley-Ross Pharmacy group announced this week the promotion of two of its pharmacists to new roles. The company named Jeff Kinter the pharmacy manager at its only retail location, the Kelley-Ross Polyclinic, and named Anna Shields its new float pharmacist, both effective June 1.

In his new role, Kinter, a 2015 University of Washington School of Pharmacy graduate, will oversee the retail aspect of the business, including its clinical services team — which includes its Concierge Travel Clinic and One-Step PrEP program — and its pharmacists and technicians. Kinter rose through the Kelley-Ross ranks as its community pharmacy resident, which involved experience in the company’s innovation lab.

“The opportunity to be creative in pharmacy is one of the reasons I enjoy working here,” Kintner said. “I learn something new every day and that sense of always looking for solutions and better ways to serve patients is going to be key to successfully managing the retail side of our business.”

Shields, the current Kelley-Ross community pharmacy resident, graduated in 2016 with her PharmD and MBA from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. Her past role focused on medication management in the transitions of care, heart failure and complex regimens settings. In her new role, she will work between Kelley-Ross’ five divisions to support each department’s needs.

“Bringing a perspective of science and business to the table gives me a unique point of view and I’m excited to see how it will apply to a floating role, serving diverse needs of the business,” Shields said.

Kelley-Ross CEO Ryan Oftebro said, “We are excited to have Jeff join our management ranks, and Anna transition from her current role. They are both invaluable assets to our company, and enjoy a very high level of respect  among their peers.”

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Analyst: An Amazon entry into the pharmacy business would not be ‘market disruptive’

BY Brian Berk

SEATTLE — A Wall Street analyst believes the potential for Amazon’s entry into the pharmacy business would not be “market disruptive.” These are the words of Mizuho Securities analyst Ann Hynes.

According to Barron’s, a major reason for this line of thinking is that ordering drugs by mail is not a new innovation. “CVS and Walgreens have been in this business for years and have relationships with drug companies and insurers that give them an early advantage,” the newspaper wrote.

Amazon “would face major infrastructure, payer and regulatory hurdles,” Hynes noted, with the news source adding “it would also be hard for Amazon to get wider discounts on generic drugs than the current players.”

In addition, many older people would rather go to drug stores than get their drugs by mail, giving an edge to companies with retail locations, the analyst stated. “Mail order penetration has been flat to slightly down over the past five years.”

To read more, click here.

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