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Walgreens goes fresh in San Francisco food desert store

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Friday announced the expansion of its fresh food selection at its location at Third Street and Williams Avenue in San Francisco’s Bayview community, a neighborhood identified as a food desert. The drug store now offers a larger assortment of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, lean protein and other healthy meal components.

The store is Walgreens’ first location in the Bay area to undergo a redesign to accommodate the expanded food selection now termed "Food Oasis." The new layout includes approximately 500 sq. ft. of additional space dedicated to food items, an offering believed to be unprecedented in the city from a traditional retail drug store.

"As one of the top pharmacy, health and wellness resources in Bayview and throughout the city, we are pleased to be making this commitment to becoming a convenient source for wholesome food, along with other daily living needs residents here trust us for," stated Bill Hose, Walgreens market VP for Northern California. "Tackling the issue of healthy food accessibility is key to improving health outcomes in underserved communities. We believe our new offering will provide a level of access that will help many customers make improvements to their diet and help lay a foundation for basic disease prevention."

Walgreens marked the official grand reopening of the store at 5300 Third St. with a community celebration kicking off July 8 at 10:30 a.m. Mayor Edwin Lee, supervisor Malia Cohen and state senator Leland Yee joined Walgreens executives for a ribbon-cutting ceremony, followed by such activities as a healthy cooking demonstration, health screenings, healthy food sampling and giveaways.

In addition to its Bayview location, Walgreens plans to have its expanded food selection available in food deserts in Oakland and Berkeley by the fall. The drug store chain launched its Food Oasis initiative in Chicago last summer with 11 stores across the city’s south and west sides. Walgreens continues to review opportunities to bring the expanded offering to other food desert areas across the country.

"The response to this new offering in Chicago has been strong, and we are looking forward to having the same positive impact in more communities," Hose said. "No other retailer has more locations in America’s underserved neighborhoods. That makes us well-positioned to play a larger role in addressing this important health need."

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Albertsons bids self checkouts farewell

BY Antoinette Alexander

BOISE, Idaho — Albertsons is pulling the plug on its self-checkout units, which will be replaced by standard "H" lanes or express lanes, the grocer has confirmed.

The 217-store grocer that operates in Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, New Mexico, Texas and Utah has self-checkout units installed in roughly 100 of its stores. Those units will be removed by the end of the summer.

According to the grocer, the self-checkout units prevent it from providing the level of customer service it wants to offer its shoppers.

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CVS puts emphasis on ExtraCare Rewards program

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS/pharmacy’s ExtraCare Rewards program, which has more than 67 million active cardholders and this year celebrates its 10-year anniversary, announced on Friday the launch of a new interactive digital campaign that encourages cardholders to take advantage of their earned rewards, as well as a new look for the ExtraBucks rewards receipt.

To encourage members to redeem their rewards, CVS/pharmacy is shining a spotlight on "MoneyTrashers," customers who are "trashing their money" by not doing such simple things as checking their receipts for ExtraBucks rewards before tossing them in the trash, or redeeming special coupons cardholders receive by email and at in-store Coupon Centers.

As of July 1, ExtraCare cardholders began receiving their quarterly ExtraBucks rewards, which are automatic savings each shopper earns for scanning their ExtraCare card during each shopping visit. These quarterly rewards are paid out four times a year.

To help more customers realize these rewards can be used to buy almost anything in the store, the CVS/pharmacy Facebook page now features interactive content, including videos, showing shoppers all the ways they might be a "MoneyTrasher," alongside tips to save more at CVS/pharmacy by spending ExtraBucks rewards and taking advantage of savings opportunities. Viewers will be able to vote on their favorite videos and can help spread the word to their friends and family on Facebook and Twitter to help teach them to "Stop Money Trashing."

In addition to the online MoneyTrashers campaign, customers also will see a new look for the ExtraBucks rewards receipt. The new design features larger print intended to grab the customers’ attention so they can take notice of their rewards.

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