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Shopko finishes conversion of Pamida stores

BY Alaric DeArment

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Shopko has finished converting the 163 Pamida stores that it bought last year, the mass merchandise retail chain said Thursday.

Green Bay, Wis.-based Shopko announced plans to buy Omaha, Neb.-based Pamida in January 2012, with plans to convert Pamida stores to the Shopko Hometown format. The last 36 Pamida stores to be converted have marked their grand openings as Shopko Hometown stores.

"2012 was a watershed year for Shopko as a result of the merger with Pamida, which significantly increased our store count, employee base and overall revenue," Shopko interim CEO and COO Mike Bettiga said. "Our team did an exceptional job of integrating the two companies into one and staying on an aggressive schedule for the store conversion efforts."

Bettiga said the company would focus on solidifying the Shopko Hometown brand and opening more Hometown stores in new communities. The conversion cost $70 million and brings the total number of Hometown stores to 176, compared with 10 in January 2012; Shopko operates 350 stores in 22 states in total. The Hometown stores combine pharmacy with product offerings in apparel, toys, consumer electronics, seasonal items and lawn and garden products in stores that range from 15,000-35,000 sq. ft.


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All American Pet Co. ships nutrition bars for dogs to Walmart

BY Alaric DeArment

LOS ANGELES — The All American Pet Co. said its new line of nutrition bars for dogs is on its way to Walmart.

The company said Thursday that its three SKUs of NutraBars were on their way to "the world’s largest retailer" for its first purchase order, though it didn’t mention Walmart by name.

"We can get the retailer, but we can’t write the retailer’s purchase order," AAPT CEO Barry Schwartz said. "We created the bar and have the capabilities to meet the demand."

The company will be at the Global Pet Expo in Orlando, Fla., which takes place between Feb. 20-22 and includes 800 exhibitors and 5,000 retail buyers.


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Partnership aims to curb cardiovascular disease among African-Americans in Alabama

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON — A new health initiative will address cardiovascular disease among African-Americans living in three counties in Alabama where the problem is considered significant.

The initiative is a public-private partnership led by the Department of Health and Human Services, which together with the Morehouse School of Medicine, awarded $900,000 to the National Baptist Convention USA to build on faith-based organizations to connect communities to vital healthcare resources like hypertension-management services, including blood pressure monitoring, free or low-cost medication and patient counseling and education.

Alabama is one of the states constituting the so-called "Stroke Belt," a region that includes most states in the South, and African-Americans living there frequently lack access to health care; 54 of the state’s 67 counties have a shortage of primary care, dental or mental health providers. According to 2009 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, African-Americans are 30% more likely to die from heart disease.

The initiative is part of the Million Hearts Stroke Belt Project, which the HHS Office of Minority Health and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Office of Minority Health are jointly funding.


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