Kerr unveils hybrid-store concept, merging health care, convenience
SANFORD, N.C. Buoyed by big opening-day crowds and an enthusiastic response from local customers, Kerr Drug’s leaders cut the ribbon on a unique retail format that combines the company’s leading-edge clinical-care concepts with its full-scale drug store prototype and a company-owned cafe.
Kerr officials are calling the newest drug store and Community Healthcare Center a hybrid. At 16,000 square feet—the largest retail unit opened yet by the 102-store chain—the new store blends all the company’s retail concepts in health care, disease management, traditional drug store merchandising, convenience and even coffee shop retailing.
Located about 35 miles southwest of Kerr’s headquarters city of Raleigh, N.C., the new store marks the expansion to a second location of the Kerr Community Healthcare Center which debuted two years ago in Lenoir, N.C. Fully half the store’s interior is devoted to expanded clinical pharmacy services, with separate offices for private one-on-one patient services, intervention and education performed by health professionals, such as a physician’s assistant, clinical pharmacists, weight loss/nutritionists specialists, and respiratory therapists.
Kerr has allocated areas throughout the new center to cardiac and lung health, women’s care, advanced skin and foot care, breast-feeding support, and other specialty departments. A complete line of health screenings will be also available, including cholesterol, bone density, artery disease, glucose, respiratory and blood pressure.
The new hybrid also features a large-scale, mid-floor “Healthy Living” durable medical equipment section for patients needing walkers, hospital beds, mobility and safety equipment, and home health care items.
In a fresh approach to its market strategy, Kerr has combined that broad patient-care concept with its prototype drug store under one roof, and added a Kerr Cafe that sells Seattle’s Best coffee, snacks and other items in a sit-down environment that can be entered either from within the drug store or from outside.
The front-end side of the store is there “to pay the bills,” but “our focus is on chronic disease management,” said Kerr chairman, president and chief executive officer Tony Civello at the opening.
“The profession of pharmacy has to have a much bigger stake in the management of chronic disease. And how we get there has to be well thought out,” Civello told Drug Store News at the grand opening. He called the new hybrid store “another step to attracting patients with chronic disease.”
“It’s high-end, high-touch health care,” explained Mark Gregory, vice president of pharmacy and government relations. “Certainly, a differentiator in today’s world is having a service-oriented facility. And this combines the health care service touch with all the other convenient items that folks associate with a drug store, in a comfortable setting.”
The store requires a high level of staffing, both professional and otherwise. Among its 50 to 60 employees: a clinical pharmacy coordinator, a pharmacy resident from Campbell University’s school of pharmacy, a large complement of staff pharmacists and technicians, and a specialist in durable medical equipment to help patients with home-health care supplies and billing for Medicare Part B and private insurance.
Customers who poured into the store Nov. 20 could choose from a wide range of opening-day giveaways, including free health screenings for blood pressure, blood glucose and Alzheimer’s disease; on-site consultations for JOBST compression hosiery; a free brown-bag consultation and a free diabetes class from Ron DeVizia, Kerr’s manager of diabetes services. Also available: free makeup consultations from Cover Girl and Neutrogena and prize drawings.