VMSD - March 2013 - (Page 36)

S E CTOR S POTLIGHT: D RUGSTORES PILLS P LUS Pharmacies are getting back to the business of emphasizing prescriptions – and the occasional sushi bar. By Steve Kaufman, Editor at Large For several decades, the big pharmacy chains seemed to be delivering the message, “We do more than just fill prescriptions.” Aisles and gondolas full of soft drinks, chips, crackers, school supplies, household items, and even beer and wine in some localities, gobbled up huge amounts of real estate, while the pharmacy counter remained squeezed in the back, seemingly unchanged since the Eisenhower era. The pharmacist stood removed in a raised studio behind thick glass, while customers crowded around the counter, shouting out their birth dates, insurance coverage and current illness to anyone within earshot. “The pharmacy counter was the drugstore equivalent of a supermarket’s milk and eggs,” says Greg Tribbe, co-founder, partner and creative director of the New York design firm Gilmore Group. “It was why people came into the store. You knew they’d go back there, so you didn’t have to make it attractive. By hiding the pharmacy in the back of the store, 36 MARCH 2013 | vmsd.com you guaranteed that shoppers would interact with cosmetics, personal care products and Ritz crackers along the way.” That’s all changing diametrically. Today, the big chains seem to be saying, “Hey, remember us, we fill your prescriptions.” After all, prescriptions have by far the biggest profit margins in the store. And the competition has stiffened. Walmart, Kmart, Target and Meijer all fill prescriptions. So does every supermarket chain. As the independent corner pharmacy is going the way of the land line telephone, the big three have one thing going for them – ubiquity. Walgreens has more than 8000 stores, CVS more than 7500 and Rite-Aid nearly 5000. With all those locations, says Tribbe, “today’s drug store is the C-store of the cities, the street corner equivalent of elevated, modern gas stations like On the Run or Wawa.” Convenience is an apt term, says Lee Peterson, http://www.vmsd.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of VMSD - March 2013

VMSD - March 2013
Contents
From the Editor
VMSD Editorial Advisory Board
The Goods
Sushi Stunner
Jump Start
American Dream
Balance Beam
Pills Plus
Showroom
Ad Index
Checking Out

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