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Vitamin Shoppe launches online community Web site

BY Michael Johnsen

NORTH BERGEN, N.J. Vitamin Shoppe earlier this month launched a new free online community featuring message boards and advice on health, wellness and sports nutrition products, the company announced Thursday.

“The online community is a natural extension of the conversations that happen in our stores everyday,” stated Lou Weiss, vice president and general manager of Vitamin Shoppe Direct. “Our members are coming together in this community to not only share their experiences, but also to get the unparalleled knowledge and advice that Vitamin Shoppe is known for.”

“Since the boards launched in early August, topics that have been discussed include nutrition, dieting, health conditions, bodybuilding, and vitamins,” added Weiss. “New topics are springing up every minute.”

The Vitamin Shoppe online community also features a variety of experts on the boards who not only host discussions, but answer specific questions from customers. Those experts include: Dave Foreman, an herbal pharmacist; Christiane Rivard, registered dietitian; and Dave Hawk, former Mr. USA and Mr. World and a personal trainer and adviser to a number of professional athletes. The boards can be accessed at www.vsconnect.com or from direct links from www.vitaminshoppe.com, and www.bodytech.com.

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Hallmark rolls out same-sex marriage cards

BY Doug Desjardins

PORTLAND, Ore. Hallmark is rolling out a new line of greeting cards for same-sex weddings. The company said it made the decision after California passed a law allowing gay weddings, joining Massachusetts and Hawaii.

A Hallmark spokeswoman said the company’s goal is “to be as relevant as possible to as many people as we can.” The four-card line features images like overlapping tuxedos and intertwined flowers but has neutral language inside. One research group estimates there will be an estimated 120,000 same-sex weddings in California over the next three years, providing a large customer base for the cards.

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Ahold unveils new-look logo for Stop & Shop, Giant stores

BY Alaric DeArment

QUINCY, Mass. Stop & Shop’s long-standing logo will soon become a thing of the past.

The supermarket chain announced Thursday that it would redesign its logo and introduce new in-store features and technologies, saying it would “offer a peek into the grocery store of the future.” The changes will appear throughout the chain over the next year.

New technologies will include a hand-held scanning device that allows customers to scan and bag groceries while they shop, stations in the produce department for pricing and bagging fruits and vegetables and ordering kiosks in the deli section.

Another banner, Landover, Md.-based Giant Food, is also making changes, altering its logo and rolling out new store offerings. The changes will take place over the next two or three years; the first store affected will be in Bethesda, Md.

The Dutch company Ahold operates both chains. Giant Food operates 181 stores in Maryland, Virginia, Delaware and the District of Columbia. Stop & Shop, based in Quincy, Mass., operates stores throughout New York, New Jersey and the New England states.

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