USA Drug icon Stephen LaFrance passes away
Stephen LaFrance, former owner of USA Drug, passed away unexpectedly last month. LaFrance was 71.
LaFrance is credited with having built a multimillion dollar pharmacy enterprise from just $26 in start-up cash — the Stephen L. LaFrance Pharmacy, predecessor to USA Drug, first opened in February 1968 — to a thriving business with 144 locations on the home turf of Walmart. The first USA Drug store opened its doors in 1984. At the time Walgreens acquired USA Drug in 2011, the proud regional chain had ranked No. 31 on the DSN PoweRx 50, with projected pharmacy sales of approximately $409 million.
"Steve always focused on two things: ‘Take care of your customers’ and ‘treat your employees right,’" Joe Courtright, former USA Drug president and CEO, shared with DSN. "His motto was ‘do the right thing.’ And those were certainly words he lived by. He was beloved by his employees."
LaFrance is survived by his wife of 44 years, Linda, sons Stephen Jr. and Jason, daughter Amy and seven grandchildren.
Memorial contributions may be made to the First United Methodist Church of Pine Bluff, P.O. Box 8003, Pine Bluff, Ark., 71611.
How to have a successful meeting at NACDS TSE
I have been thinking about this column for a long time — the quintessential advice for how to work NACDS Total Store Expo next month. This morning I had one of those Hunter S. Thompson "eureka" moments.
In an infamous article Thompson once wrote about the 1970 Kentucky Derby, after several days covering the legendary race, and with no story and a notebook full of scribbles recounting random drunken moments of his trip, Thompson found the essence of his story in the image of his own blood-shot face in the bathroom mirror.
Like Thompson, the answer had been staring me, and countless DSN readers, in the face this whole time, in the form of our regular Patient Views feature, which appears bimonthly in DSN magazine, and every day in our electronic newsletter DSN A.M.
Recently, Patient Views examined beauty-purchasing attitudes and behavior through a slightly different lens than most beauty buyers and sellers generally look through. That’s because Patient Views is powered by a panel of more than 6,000 patients recruited from physicians’ offices all across the country by our partner AccentHealth, which provides the largest point-of-care health education network in America, with more than 173 million viewers annually in more than 26,000 physician waiting rooms.
If you are looking to find new growth in an existing category, or trying to identify unmet consumer needs, you need to take a three- or even four-dimensional view of the consumer. Take a patient on a specialty drug — what OTC needs could they have to manage side effects; what skin care needs could they have? What are the beauty needs of your highest volume prescription users?
If you’re going to have a meaningful conversation at NACDS TSE, you better have all the people who buy, sell and move the products that touch that customer’s life in your booth. That’s the way you have to work NACDS TSE.
To learn more about Patient Views, visit DrugStoreNews.com/patient-views.
CINCINNATI — Candle-Lite will introduce two new Entenmann’s scented candle flavors, Chocolate Whoopie Pie and Red Velvet Cupcake, in time for the fourth-quarter holiday-selling season. The line extensions will be available in three sizes — 9-oz. three-wick jar, 3.5-oz. jar two-pack and 16-oz. jar — and will retail for $7.99. Like the existing line of scented candles, the new flavors will be packaged in boxes that mimic the familiar Entenmann’s "see-through" cake box and will deliver the aroma of the Entenmann’s most popular baked goods without the calories.