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Rite Aid enters 23rd year raising funds for Children’s Miracle Network

BY Michael Johnsen

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid on Monday announced the launch of its annual Miracle Balloon campaign in support of local Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals during the company’s annual Miracle Balloon campaign. Rite Aid customers will be encouraged to support their local children’s hospital by purchasing $1 paper Miracle Balloon and in return, customers will receive $7 in coupon offers for select products sold at Rite Aid.

“For nearly 25 years, Rite Aid has been a proud sponsor of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals,” stated Ken Martindale, Rite Aid CEO of stores, president of Rite Aid Corporation and president of The Rite Aid Foundation. “Thanks to the tremendous efforts of our associates to raise funds during the campaign and the generosity of our customers and supplier partners, we’re able to bring our core value of being a caring neighbor to life, helping to make miracles happen for children being treated at the 95 hospitals we support across the country.”

The 2017 campaign marks Rite Aid’s 23rd year of fundraising for the organization, which helps provide pediatric equipment, treatments, research, therapy programs and charitable care benefiting sick and injured kids. Since becoming a partner in 1994, Rite Aid has raised nearly $81 million, including $6 million in 2016, for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, making Rite Aid the organization's sixth largest corporate partner. In addition to selling Miracle Balloons, Rite Aid associates host a variety of special fundraisers such as motorcycle rides, golf and fishing tournaments, plant and flower sales and car washes.

“We’re thrilled our long-time partner, Rite Aid, is kicking off their annual fundraising campaign during Children’s Hospitals Week, a new initiative dedicated to shining a light on the importance of children’s hospitals and how donations help kids get the best care when they need it,” said John Lauck, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals president and CEO. “We are so grateful for Rite Aid’s continued support and applaud their unwavering commitment to improve the lives of the sick and injured children.”

 

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Former Rite Aid COO named to top post at QuickChek

BY Brian Berk

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. — QuickChek announced John Schaninger, VP of sales and marketing, left the company and has been replaced by former Rite Aid COO Rob Easley.

Schaninger served QuickChek, operator of 10 pharmacy locations, for 38 years. He left to pursue other interests.

"John has played a vital role in the growth of QuickChek," said QuickChek CEO Dean Durling. "He felt the time was right to pursue other opportunities. We thank him for his many years of service and all the contributions he has made."

Easley served as Rite Aid’s COO in 2007 and 2008. He also served H-E-B for 16 years from 1991-2006 as a senior marketing and operations executive. He joined QuickChek in February as its senior vice president of merchandising and marketing, a newly created position.

“We are very pleased to have Rob Easley join our senior management team,” said Durling. “While we are celebrating our first 50 years, Rob’s strong background in marketing, strategic planning and operations will help us grow to the next level as we look to our future.”

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Supermarket Wellness Watch: ‘Almost-fake’ news tests retailers on health

BY David Orgel

We’ve heard a lot lately about fake news. Much of the talk is about false and deceptive stories invading the Internet and other platforms.

There’s another phenomenon that I call “almost-fake,” which also relates to news and information, specifically about health. In many ways it’s even more challenging, especially for health practitioners and retailers.

I define almost-fake as health information that isn’t based on science.

It draws a big following among consumers, especially younger ones who are defining health in nontraditional ways and looking to new sources for information, including social media. The sources may be well meaning, and the facts may even turn out to be credible, but much of it is questionable and impossible to validate.

All of this worries health professionals such as supermarket dietitians, who need to determine how best to guide consumers. This topic was addressed recently by speakers at The NGA Show in Las Vegas, an annual convention for independent grocers produced by the National Grocers Association.

Two consultants with considerable experience as retail dietitians painted a picture of the new landscape.

For retail health professionals the stakes are high. “This is about how you’ll strategize around health and wellness in the future,” said Annette Maggi, president of Annette Maggi & Associates, a speaker at the NGA event.

“One of the challenges I see in this new definition of health and wellness is where is the scientific evidence?” she continued. “We’re living in an environment now with fake news and alternate facts, and this is one that definitely impacts the health and wellness arena.”

She pointed to ‘clean label’ as a good example. “Many consumers are saying they want fewer ingredients,” she began. “The reality is there isn’t much science behind many of those changes being made.”

What is her solution to this dilemma?  “You need to be responsible in how you message it, because consumers expect that. Retailers have a unique role in consumer education because consumers see them as a filter of information. That authenticity and accuracy really matters.”

Shari Steinbach, president of Shari Steinbach & Associates, another NGA Show speaker, said that “fake news and fear mongering” has added a new dimension to the roles of health professionals.

“As a retail dietitian over the last few years, I’ve spent time debunking Internet stories about what’s bad for you.”

The trick is to tread very carefully in communicating information, she emphasized.

“We look at science as dietitians, but consumers don’t want science shoved down their throats. Consumers have beliefs, and we need to meet them where they are, and provide them information about choices with science-based resources. I want to help them shop our stores, not turn them away by saying what they believe is false.”

These are big challenges for retail health professionals, but many are learning to navigate this path. A smart approach is to use a bit of psychology in interactions with consumers. Tell them the truth without making them feel dumb or wrong. Getting that balance right will produce big wins for retailers and their health teams. 



David Orgel is an award-winning business journalist, industry expert and speaker who was the longtime chief editor and content leader of Supermarket News. He is currently the principal of David Orgel Consulting, delivering strategic content and counsel to the food, retail and CPG industries. To read last month’s blog post, click here

 

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