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Walgreens’ Greg Wasson featured on ‘Mad Money’

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — "Mad Money"’s Jim Cramer on Tuesday evening interviewed Walgreens president and CEO Greg Wasson on what’s behind the drug store retailer’s skyrocketing shareholder value. 

"I was skeptical," Cramer said. "I didn’t realize that [Walgreens was] trying to become more than just a drug store company, and instead of just the $300 billion drug store market, [the company is] in the couple trillion dollar healthcare market because of the changes [Walgreens has] made," he said. "You’re changing the face of the way health care is given in this country."

"Health care is becoming much more coordinated among stakeholders," Wasson said. Walgreens has far surpassed a typical neighborhood drug store offering, Wasson explained. Pharmacists are providing more services like immunizations. Walgreens is co-locating nurse practitioners in stores to provide more acute and chronic care solutions. And Walgreens is partnering with health systems across the country to help mitigate healthcare costs and hospital readmissions.  

Walgreens also is building the world’s largest generic drug procurement system through its strategic initiatives with Alliance Boots and AmerisourceBergen, Wasson added. 

And yet, Walgreens is still delivering to its core drug store consumer with a revamped drug store offering. The chain has emphasized value through its private label program, with some 2,000 new SKUs having been introduced in the past year. And with its more than 8,200 store base, 63% of the American population lives within five miles of a Walgreens location. 

"Well, you created tremendous value," Cramer concluded. "You have a stock that’s doing much better than the S&P [500]," he said. "There are companies that amaze me. There are companies with a big vision, bigger than I ever thought about, and Walgreens is one of them."

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R.HAMMERLE says:
Jan-16-2014 10:51 am

Jim Cramer and other company analysts would not have said this about Walgreens a half dozen years ago, when CVS was passing Walgreens with several strategic initiatives. The credit for Walgreens' vision and turnaround needs to go to Greg Wasson and the thousands of community-based pharmacists who supported a new vision for the future of pharmacies and pharmacists. Ron Hammerle, CEO and Chairman Health Resources, Ltd. Tampa, Florida

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New book examines how emerging brands break through

BY Rob Eder

NEW YORK — Why do dark horse companies win — and how do they win?

That is the key focus of a new book by sales strategist and Elevation Forum founder Dan Mack, “Dark Horse: How Challenger Companies Rise to Prominence.” The best leaders and companies bring more than unique products or services to the market — they consistently tap into the 10 key growth enablers Mack outlines in his book.  

Dan Mack’s "Dark Horse" is a documentation of his various experiences as a sales strategist and entrepreneur, having spent 25 years as a leader of two challenger companies. The book is a summation of five years of research, interviews, and consulting discussions with more than 100 emerging companies that, by all accounts, were outmatched by the competition — yet went on to great success.

Ken Martindale, president and COO of Rite Aid, called the book, "a must-read for anyone who is inventing or re-inventing their business."

"Dan truly understands the power of the ‘Dark Horse’ in a business setting,” said Joe Magnacca,
president and CEO of Radio Shack. “Believe in the ‘Dark Horse’ — and be the first to see it."

Added Walgreens VP/GMM of beauty and personal care Shannon Curtin, "Dan has uncovered the hidden assets and blueprint that challenger companies utilize to unlock the secrets to game changing results."

To learn more about "Dark Horse,” please visit DarkHorseBook.com or watch the video.

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Top Pair launches Safe-Sit disposable paper toilet seat cover

BY Michael Johnsen

MIAMI — Top Pair recently introduced Safe-Sit, a disposable paper toilet seat cover that retails for a suggested $1.99 for 10 sheets. The product is packaged in a convenient personal pack that can be carried for on-the-go use. 

Safe-Sit is biodegradable, antiallergic and eco-friendly, the company stated. 

The product has worked well as an impulse purchase at the checkstand, though many merchants are folding the product into their travel/trial sets, Top Pair reported. 

It also has been successfully merchandised in the feminine and hygeine aisle and works well adjacent to hand sanitizers.

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