Independent pharmacies are dreaming of a green Christmas

December 10, 2007

Indepedent pharmacies expect holiday 2007 to be an excellent sales year. This article describes some of the gifts and decorations they will be selling.

South Miami Pharmacy, Miami Beach, recently introduced gift cards includingHome Depot, Sears, Best Buy, and Bass Pro Shops. Armando Bardisa, the pharmacyowner, said, "I believe these will do very well closer to the holidays. Becauseof the traffic and crowds around the holidays, we believe our patients will loveour gift card services. We will also be offering the usual sweets, such as candycanes, sugar cookies, chocolate, and eggnog."

Scott Buda, presidentof Health Mart Pharmacies of Lynbrook and Freeport in New York, predicts Webkinzinteractive stuffed animals will be a strong holiday item in the toy category,especially as newer Webkinz items are strategically released closer to the holidays.He also expects cash registers to ring up traditional ornaments, including glassballs and garlands as well as licensed ornaments featuring SpongeBob, Dora theExplorer, Family Guy, and Disney characters.

"What's funny is thatno matter how hard we try, you never know if multicolor lights or clear lightswill be more popular for the upcoming season. It changes every year. Icicle lightsare always popular as consumers get more and more into decorating the outsideof their home and competing with their neighbors," Buda said.

Budabelieves gift-wrapping goods will fly out the door. "Consumers always waituntil the last minute to purchase these items, and the convenience of the localdrugstore takes over and we capitalize on this category as a result." Healso anticipates picture frames, jewelry boxes, collectibles, candles, appliances,and electronics will find their way under Christmas trees.

Buda has implementeda new strategy to entice consumers to spend. The pharmacy is running a contestin which consumers earn bonus prize dollars for visiting the store and makingpurchases along with their friends and family.

"We have 10 fabulousprizes on display and keep a chart with the contestant's name and number, whichwe update weekly, so they can see what place they are in. The 10 customers withthe most points at the end of the sale will win the prizes. We accumulate a mailinglist at the same time," said Buda.

Dave Marley, owner of Marley Drug,Winston-Salem, N.C., is betting on a new gift line as well as a spa line of lotionsand creams. Marley has stocked the shelves with Christmas carol-singing animals,including a snowman, an elf, and a dancing duck. He also has music boxes, lightedSanta hats, holiday gift wrap, tags, bags, and holiday pens. He's also countingon sales from spiritual gift items, including rocks with quotes, verse cards,ceramic angels, pewter bookmarks with quotes, guardian angel visor clips, greetingcards, and books with inspirational messages.