Regional chains flock south to NACDS conference in Fla.

BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. —Regional drug operators are getting set to head south as the National Association of Chain Drug Stores kicks off its 2010 Regional Chain Conference with the traditional Super Bowl party.

“This conference is really unique,” Jim Whitman, NACDS SVP member programs and services, told Drug Store News, “because it’s really designed for NACDS associate members who have innovative programs for the retailer chains that attend.” It’s an education conference covering topics identified by regional chain operators during the conference planning session. But, the conference, held here from Feb. 7 to 9, also includes the opportunity for senior level meetings among associate members and their customers.

Doug Long, VP industry relations at IMS Health, will be updating regional operators on the latest in pharmaceutical forecasts. And as such social media platforms as Twitter and Facebook are becoming more prominent, Pete Blackshaw, EVP digital strategic services, will share with attendees how to best reach and interact with social media-empowered consumers. “Regional operators are doing some very innovative [programs] on Facebook and couponing in the social media platform,” Whitman said.

Other presentations include how to best navigate regulatory channels and key front-end trends and forecasts. In all, more than 50 regional drug chains are expected to attend—more or less in line with recent years, Whitman noted.