CVS’s climb to the top: In the U.S., you can basically throw a rock and you’ll hit a CVS. Roughly 85% of Americans live within five miles of a CVS pharmacy — the company is the most profitable retail pharmacy in the country. Rite Aid may have a net worth of roughly $200 million and Walgreens is worth $30.52 billion, but CVS’s net worth is a mind-blowing $104.57 billion as of March 3. (That’s right, that’s “billion,” with a “B.”) So how exactly did they do that? Basically ever-expanding operations fueled by acquisitions, mergers, and partnerships. Yahoo Finance breaks it down here — in this great chronicle of CVS’s rise to the top. For instance, did you know that CVS originally stood for the “Consumer Value Store”? Well, you do now! —Chloe Riley
Scanning product … and messages: Wait, what was that message? Oh, it’s coming back around again. Stater Bros. Market will soon be using the conveyor-belt advertising service Message Wrap to show customers how they can join the grocer’s Digital Deals loyalty program. So if they miss it, no worries — it’s on a moving stage. The San Bernardino, Calif.-based grocer will apply the ads to cashier conveyor belts at all 170 stores in southern California, and the Digital Deals program allows customers to apply digital coupons at checkout, so what better place to talk about rewards than right at the source? Grocery retailers have come up with some remarkable ways to advertise product over the years. Just recently, I saw a display of various beverage cases (about 20 feet tall) showing a design for Super Bowl 57. It was a manufactured work-of-art, and after learning about Stater Bros. Market’s new tactic it appears canvases are everywhere. —Bill Wilson
Keeping it special: Wooden barrels with coffee beans. Jars of tahini, pomegranate syrup and sweet peppers. Lebanese sodas in mint and tamarind. Just some of the delights you’ll find at Sahadi’s in Brooklyn — a Middle Eastern grocer which has been around for 75 years. The store, which just opened its second location, as well as a cafe, has plenty of special touches. A fresh-bread section, a wide selection of olives, house-roasted almonds. And the owners also understand the human touch. Says Ron Sahadi: “Covid-19 taught us to adapt to much more online business or lose sales. But something is lost without the face to face. You’re not just a customer, you’re a friend.” Wise words. —CR
Are Publix subs God’s gift to Florida? Florida can boast a lot of draws: sun, gators, Disney. But have you tried a Publix sub? Sarasota Magazine recently did a Publix sub sandwich throwdown: “Pub subs: Trash or God’s gift to Florida?” The pro Publix sub take? Variety of options and freshness. The anti Publix sub take? No regional connection to the state, using tomatoes that aren’t produced under ideal working conditions. But maybe it all comes down to wistfulness. As one editor writes: “Publix is the nostalgia factor. As kids, we’re often given little control over the choices we can make. Bedtime? Nope. Shoes? Yeah, right. But your Publix sub? You can order it while your grown-up is shopping and have total control.” Hey, have it your way. —CR
The Super Mario of grocery games? Price Chopper / Market 32 shoppers are once again giving their gamer thumbs a workout. Following the success of last fall’s Daily SurPRIZE video game, shoppers can now enjoy the Daily SurPRIZE, Frozen Food Frenzy. The retailer sees the contest as a way to keep store-goers engaged — the game itself features free exclusive digital coupons and customers also have the chance to win prizes. ROI on the first Daily SurPRIZE was nothing short of spectacular: during the contest, the landing page had 1 million views, and traffic to the rewards site was five times higher vs. the prior weekly average. The SuPRIZE site also ranked No. 1 or No. 2 for web traffic, engagement for online redemption options rewards more than tripled, and new site registrations increased by a factor of three times in the game window vs. a prior weekly average. Whew! —BW
Stater Bros. Market will be using cashier conveyor belts to advertise for its Digital Deals loyalty program. Do you think this is taking in-house advertising too far? Or, could this be the next trend in grocery advertising?
Let us know in the comments below, or email your thoughts to SN Executive Editor Chloe Riley at [email protected]