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Wellness to the MAX

BY Michael Johnsen

WOODMERE, Ohio —With its grand opening held here in early June, the latest 5,000-sq.-ft. Max-Wellness location marks the second in the Cleveland market and fourth overall—the other two Max-Wellness stores are located in the Sarasota, Fla., area.

And it’s the best store yet, said Michael Feuer, Max-Wellness founder and CEO.

Max-Wellness executives led Drug Store News on an exclusive tour of the new store in mid-June. Immediately upon entering the store, the first thing the customer sees is the Max-Wellness “magnet area,” a circlet of seasonal items designed to have a new facing with each subsequent visit. “This area will change all the time,” Feuer said. “It’s a little more interactive because we want people to touch and feel.”

The store is divided into three sections, with the front of the store featuring wellness offerings to satisfy what might be considered acute, or more immediate, needs.

The second third of the store is an information supercenter, housing two interactive diagnostic stations: a Step digital foot scanner to identify orthotics needs and an interactive health assessment kiosk, which anchors the One2One wellness consultation area and measures blood pressure and body fat, among other health-related diagnostics.

Another key feature of the One2One area, and one of the more unique aspects of the store, is one of two Max-Answers information stations, which features a transportable “health tablet”—think iPad. Feuer noted that future stores might very well feature an iPad that customers can use as a personal health shopping assistant. The health tablet programming is driven by Aisle7, a company that specializes in providing consumer-friendly health resources at the point of sale, though there are some features that have been customized by Max-Wellness, Feuer noted. “We took 275 of the most common medical maladies, and we had a professional write the program,” he said. “So if you say, ‘I played tennis last night, and my knee hurts,’” a customer can identify solutions on the health tablet easily.

Complementing the digital information station is a small library of health-themed books in a section titled “Wellness-answers to go.”

The back third of the store houses durable medical equipment, bed and bath aides and incontinence supplies—all products that shoppers don’t necessarily want to see, unless they have a need, Feuer said.

It’s apparent a lot of thought went into department adjacencies, as many of the categories seem to flow into the next. “I look at things through the eye of the customer,” Feuer explained. For example, a 4-ft. gondola of heart-health-friendly supplements and antioxidants features heart-friendly exercise equipment—medicine balls and yoga and Pilates supplies all alongside blood pressure monitors—on the opposite side of the fixture.

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FDA advisory committee shoots down Vivus’ Qnexa

BY Alaric DeArment

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. The possibility of a new drug for treating obesity suffered a setback Thursday as a Food and Drug Administration advisory committee voted against recommending its approval.

The FDA Endocrinologic and Metabolic Drugs Advisory Committee voted 10 to 6 against recommending approval for Vivus’ drug Qnexa (phentermine and topiramate), citing safety concerns such as the possibility of psychiatric problems and birth defects.

“We appreciate the advisory committee’s recognition of obesity as a significant health crisis and the challenges associated with the treatment of this disease,” Vivus CEO Leland Wilson said. “We are disappointed with the advisory committee’s vote.”

The company said it would attempt to address the committee’s concerns. An advisory committee vote is a recommendation, and while the FDA will take it into account when deciding whether to approve a drug, it is not bound to follow it.

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Post-it launches Shopping Genius widget

BY Allison Cerra

LONDON 3M has developed a bargain-shopping widget with the help of its Post-it brand.

Inspired by usage of the classic Post-it note as a shopping list, 3M has developed an evolution of the shopping list for the digital age called Post-it Shopping Genius. How it works: Post-it Shopping Genius sits on your computer desktop, keeping an eye on the price changes for you, locating the cheapest price, and letting you know when it changes. The customizable application enables you to choose from thousands of electricals, durables and other consumer goods, and track up to five at a time.

The application — which can be directly downloaded from http://bit.ly/Post-itGenius and is available on iGoogle, Mac OS X desktop and Windows 7 / Vista desktops — displays up-to-date prices on many thousands of products, which are searchable within the tool.

In related news, 3M announced that it is offering a monthly monetary prize of 1,000 GBP ($1,542) or the value of a user’s shopping list if less as an incentive to those who refer the Shopping Genius application to a friend.

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