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NEW YORK Improved sight lines, updated and provocative signage, space for a retail clinic operation — all are elements incorporated into the modern drug store prototype, Duane Reade or otherwise. And all hold significance with today’s over-the-counter supplier.
But Duane Reade’s InVite venture will really set the New York pharmacy apart from its competition for a few reasons. First, not too long after Elephant Pharmacy founder Stuart Skorman established the pharmacy amalgamation of Eastern medicine and Western medicine in Berkeley, Calif., he identified New York City as ideal expansion ground for his concept. The reasoning was simple — where else in the world do you have such a diverse consumer base in search of natural medicines, homeopathic remedies and modern, allopathic drugs all within the same region? Offering an on-site naturopathic physician, even in just a few of its well-trafficked stores, will help establish Duane Reade as the go-to pharmacy within New York City for all issues related to health.
Second, it has the potential of attracting that core, dedicated dietary supplement shopper out of the GNC centers that they’re currently patronizing and into the Duane Reade drug store, where they can get so much more than just their monthly supplements. It also ups the stakes within supplements somewhat — GNCs, and other such vitamin specialty retailers as Vitamin Shoppe and Vitamin World — are staffed by knowledgeable clerks to be sure, but not naturopathic physicians necessarily. The new prototype and InVite venture is also taking place at a time when GNC has recently announced the remodel of its store prototype to be more appealing to the more general supplement consumer. In that respect, the InVite venture will also serve as a defensive measure to keep Duane Reade supplement customers from crossing over to GNC.
Finally, establishing Duane Reade as the go-to retailer for supplements meshes with current demographic trends — notably that aging and educated baby boomer consumer who is actively seeking lifestyle strategies to improve their overall health. And having an educated practitioner making supplement suggestions will not only appeal to a burgeoning consumer base, but coupled with the pharmacist and retail clinician, it will also help to establish credibility for Duane Reade as the go-to source for all health issues.