Archive for May, 2010

Who is Duane Reade?

May 28, 2010

Duane Reade is a well-known pharmacy in New York City. Actually, it is ubiquitous. They have the large variety of goods that most modern pharmacies have nowadays—in addition to the actual pharmacy itself. One thing in particular that they have that I have never seen before is an “Eco-Club”.

The “Eco-Club” is actually an extension of its regular rewards program, known as “flex-points”. Like most rewards programs, Flex-Points offer a combination of discounts and cash rewards. The innovation with the Eco-Club is that members will get double points on “green”, or “environmentally-friendly” products. Importantly, the earned points go into a member’s general FlexPoints account, so any rewards earned can be used throughout the store.

The array of products in Duane Reade is impressive, which is part of the reason it has been a fixture in New York for over 50 years. Even more impressive is the variety of environmentally friendly products—some of which are very clever. These include paper towels made mostly from sugar cane excess, fluorescent light bulbs, tote bags—and some newer entries (“for her” such as blush, liners, tampons, and pads). The display of “green” products takes up quite a bit of shelf space.

The best part about a store like Duane Reade offering these types of products is that it has a very wide customer base—essentially a mass market audience. At the very least, people from across all economic and demographic spectrums are being exposed to environmentally friendly options across a broad array of products. At the very best, a broad cross-section of New York is buying these items, encouraging their continued production.

Duane Reade’s Eco Club
https://secure.duanereade.com/EcoClub.aspx

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Locavore–Not Just for Foodies Anymore

May 13, 2010

A very trendy idea in the media recently is “locavore”. The idea is that you buy as much food as possible from nearby local sources, preferably within 100-150 miles or so. Part of the idea of “locavore” is to support local (nearby) farmers. I recently saw a flyer from the 3/50 project which expanded my definition of “locavores”. The idea is to think about 3 local businesses in your community you would really miss if they were gone. Then make an effort to patronize them some more.

What if I expanded the locavore concept to try to buy more in general from local independently owned stores—beyond the 3 I would miss the most if they suddenly weren’t there? My 3 are the neighborhood grocery store, the hardware/equipment rental shop, and fabulous Chinese restaurant we go to regularly. They help make my neighborhood special and unique and a great place to live. I can easily add the micro-brewery I can walk to, the carpet/floor store I bought my carpets at, and the coffee shop across the street. Seeing that flyer from the 3/50 project made me realize how lucky I am to have so much variety nearby.

The 3/50 project estimates that for every $100 dollars spent at a local independent business, fully 2/3 of it ($68) returns to the community via taxes, payroll, and other expenditures. The same dollar spent at a national chain returns $43. Buying online—minimal or no dollars come home. This makes sense, since the job of a local store for a national chain is to return a specific amount of profit to the home office.

Bloomberg BusinessWeek recently reported on a variety of “buy local” initiatives. One study they mention estimated that a 10% shift in spending would result in over 1,600 new jobs in that particular community (Grand Rapids, Michigan). There are many such “buy local” campaigns across the country—some sources count 130 of them.

From New England, to Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, and across to Michigan, Utah and the West Coast, these buy local campaigns might just be in a community near you—check them out!

Interesting perspectives:

http://www.the350project.net
http://postgazette.com/pg/10073/1042411-68.stm
http://www.localfirst.org


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