Natureplex’s Victor Santos emphasizes OTC value
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With offerings that include well-known brands, and formulas for private label and contract manufacturing service, Natureplex is aiming to deliver for consumers where it matters — quality, quantity and price. Drug Store News spoke to Victor Santos, president of the Olive Branch, Miss.-based company, about its American-made bona fides, how retailers can reach OTC shoppers and what the category’s future holds.
Drug Store News: How would you describe Natureplex?
Victor Santos: Natureplex is a manufacturer of over-the-counter pharmaceutical products that trade under the Natureplex brand, as well as the Dr. Champion, Natureside and Massengill brands.The company also offers its formulas for private label and provides contract-manufacturing services. Currently, Natureplex operates a 135,000-sq.-ft. manufacturing facility and a 64,000 sq.-ft. finished goods warehouse. Natureplex employs between 135 and 150 team members.
We were founded in September 2001. The current owner purchased the assets of a small, undercapitalized supplement manufacturer. Natureplex’s owners had been associated with the original company, and gained industry knowledge while working there for nearly two years. They realized that with hard work, new equipment, a commitment to customer service and an expanded product line, Natureplex had an incredible future.
DSN: Can you tell us about your products?
Santos: Natureplex takes pride in manufacturing products in the United States. The company’s customers take “made in the U.S.A.” into consideration when buying products. All the items manufactured by Natureplex offer slightly more quantity than the competition, are competitively priced and have packaging that, in the industry, is second to none.
We produce everyday products in the following categories: digestive care, antifungal analgesics, antibiotics, skin protectant, skin care, anorectal, feminine care and oral care. Some of the products we are working on are line extensions for oral and skin care, also, a more “natural” and environmentally friendly line of feminine hygiene products that we are hoping to launch first quarter 2018.
DSN: The company uses the slogan “Pharmaceuticals affordable for everyone.” What’s the strategy behind that?
Santos: We adopted the slogan when Natureplex was competing against a few foreign and U.S. brands that we felt were overpriced. These products were used to treat common ailments, but were unaffordable to the average consumer. Buying components and ingredients in volume at the right price allowed Natureplex’s products to become affordable for everyone.
DSN: So what should retailers and pharmacist do to maximize sales from this category?
Santos: They should know that customers still love and trust American-made products, especially pharmaceuticals. They also like bargains. Filling “dump” bins with economical products is a proven and effective way of generating extra sales without losing shelf space. Offering cost-conscience consumers a lower-priced item may make the retailer another dollar, instead of sending that customer around the corner to a discount store.
Retailers that are looking for brand identity, Natureplex offers a private-label option. However, unlike some of the larger private-label manufacturers that require high minimums, in most cases, Natureplex can offer the same products at a better cost, with lower minimum runs.
DSN: What does the future hold for your company?
Santos: Strong revenue growth is expected from our expanded Massengill product line, Dr. Champion products, Kendra collection of spa oriented cosmetics and Skullduggery tattoo products. While focusing marketing efforts on company brands, contract filling and private-label manufacturing also will show strong growth in 2018.
Natureplex is currently assessing sites for a new 250,000 sq.-ft. distribution center that will be located in the mid-south. The new location will be operational by next September and will provide the necessary logistics support as part of our Vision 2020 operating plan.