DEERFIELD, Ill.--Select Walgreens stores across the country will give special recognition to its African-American vendor partners throughout Black History Month this February as part of its Community Corner initiative showcasing products produced by minority-owned businesses. The initiative, now in its second year, allows Walgreens consumers to easily identify products by diverse vendors through displays, in-store signage and announcements, national print and radio advertisements, in-store product demonstrations and a new Community Corner sticker that will be placed on each featured item.
“From top leadership down, we believe in the power this initiative can have in our communities and we plan to continue to seek new ways to strengthen it in the coming years.”
Throughout February, the products produced by the following African American-owned businesses will be featured in more than 2,500 Walgreens stores.
Danielle Ashley Communications
Firstline Mfg. Corp.
Nicene Brands, LLC
Popcorn and More, Inc.
Professional Products Unlimited, Inc
The Crutcher Marketing Group
The Pepsom Group
Six African American-owned magazines – Black Enterprise, Ebony, Heart & Soul, Sister2Sister, The Source and Upscale – will also be featured.
In its initial year, in addition to African American-owned businesses, the Community Corner initiative launched awareness campaigns and promotions supporting products produced by women-owned businesses during National Women’s History Month in May and products by Hispanic businesses during Hispanic Heritage Month in October. Overall, the program drove a 12 percent sales increase among featured items and garnered recognition and support from national community and economic development organizations. Walgreens plans to expand the program to feature products from businesses owned by Native Americans, Asian Americans, veterans and other categories of diverse suppliers at different points throughout the year.
We are thrilled with Community Corner’s first year results,” said Walgreens director of supplier diversity, Gleatha Glispie. “But, frankly, we are not surprised by the initial success – we serve a very diverse, savvy customer base who wants to support businesses that have a positive impact on communities. We’ve received a tremendous amount of good feedback and we’re building on that momentum as we look forward to again driving stronger awareness, trial and loyalty for even more brands this year.”
The Community Corner program is one of several Walgreens supplier diversity initiatives currently underway with the objective to establish, sustain and grow opportunities for diverse and small businesses and strengthening the economic base in communities impacted by these businesses. Walgreens is working toward an overall corporate goal of spending a minimum of $1 billion annually with diverse suppliers.
“We commend Walgreens for its vision is developing such a great supplier diversity program that is light years ahead of other retailers,” said John E. Brown, president of The Pepsom Group, Inc. “Though we are a truly diverse company – I’m African-American and my co-founder is a Japanese-American woman – our product is for the masses. We saw amazing results during the promotion last February and we used that success as a springboard to increase sales over 70 percent for the year. We are honored to be a part of this monumental initiative and pleased with the company’s plans to take it to an entire new level this year.”
In addition to the featured products, each February Walgreens plans to recognize an organization that works to address issues of critical importance in African American communities. This year Walgreens recognizes the Alzheimer’s Association for its work providing outreach and education services, support and research on Alzheimer’s disease – the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, African Americans are twice as likely to have Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, but less likely to be diagnosed than other ethnicities. Throughout the month, Walgreens will help drive awareness around this organization’s mission through inclusion in its national ads, store signage and monthly coupon book. For information on the Alzheimer’s Association call 1-800-272-3900 or visit Alz.org.
“We want to thank all the businesses and organizations showcased through Community Corner so far for their partnership in launching the program,” said Glispie. “From top leadership down, we believe in the power this initiative can have in our communities and we plan to continue to seek new ways to strengthen it in the coming years.”
Walgreens is the nation's largest drugstore chain with fiscal 2010 sales of $67 billion. The company operates 7,655 drugstores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Each day, Walgreens provides nearly 6 million customers the most convenient, multichannel access to consumer goods and services and trusted, cost-effective pharmacy, health and wellness services and advice in communities across America. Walgreens scope of pharmacy services includes retail, specialty, infusion, medical facility and mail service, along with pharmacy benefit solutions and respiratory services. These services improve health outcomes and lower costs for payers including employers, managed care organizations, health systems, pharmacy benefit managers and the public sector. Take Care Health Systems is a Walgreens subsidiary that is the largest and most comprehensive manager of worksite health centers and in-store convenient care clinics, with more than 700 locations throughout the country.