Magazine article Drug Topics

Big Appetite

Magazine article Drug Topics

Big Appetite

Article excerpt

St. Louis-based Medicine Shoppe International is teaming up with Fiesta Mart Stores in the Houston area. The pharmacy franchisor has opened five units in Fiesta grocery stores.

Although the late June debut in the units represents the most visible signs to date that Medicine Shoppe is expanding into the supermarket arena, the company already operates leased pharmacies in 21 supermarkets around the country, according to Allan Friedson, v.p.-franchise sales at Medicine Shoppe.

"We began entering supermarkets about two years ago," reported Friedson, "but we really didn't start marketing heavily until the FMI [Food Marketing Institute] trade show in Chicago. There had been interest prior to that time, but things really started picking up at the show."

Indeed, Friedson said Medicine Shoppe has signed more contracts for pharmacies within food stores, and the chain is "actively working within the supermarket segment right now."

Fiesta Mart stores are targeted at Hispanic customers. "We're very encouraged by the test," added Friedson.

The decision to implement Medicine Shoppe's program, according to Bernie Murphy, spokesman for Fiesta Mart, was based on the fact that Medicine Shoppe is primarily a pharmacy operation.

"The biggest hang-up with other national chains was the issue of who would handle the health and beauty aids. Fortunately, Medicine Shoppe is primarily a prescription drug provider with some OTCs, so we were able to work things out," he said.

Prior to the association with Medicine Shoppe, only two of Fiesta's 33 stores offered prescription services through lease agreements. …

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