Thanks to strong franchising efforts and growth, Club Pilates can bring a beneficial workout and healthy lifestyle to people everywhere.
By Stephanie Crets
Getting motivated to go to the gym can be an ongoing struggle for many people, but Club Pilates makes the experience fun and engaging. With more than 50 group classes to choose from every week in a state-of-the art facility and private training studio, members won’t get bored with the variety offered to challenge them at every level.
“What we do is vastly different from any other Pilates studio out there,” President Shaun Grove says. “We’ve created these facilities that are really best-in-class in terms of instruction we provide, equipment in the studios and facilities and how they look. We offer everything at a value price, vastly less expensive than what you’ll find at other studios.”
Every 1,500-2,000-square-foot studio accommodates 300 to 350 members. They are assisted and taught by instructors who each have more than 500 hours of comprehensive training before becoming certified at the highest level of Pilates competency. “Our members expect a high-quality Pilates class, provided by a very educated instructor in a very controlled and friendly fitness atmosphere,” Grove notes.
One of the hurdles the company has to overcome is encouraging more men to try Pilates and become members. Although former boxer and wrestler Joseph Pilates created the Pilates method in an effort to help rehabilitate World War II veterans, Pilates has traditionally been seen as a female-oriented workout. And it really took off because his studio was across from the New York Ballet Dance Company, so many female dancers and models began incorporating it into their routines and workouts.
“But it has benefits that are far-reaching for men and women of all ages,” Grove argues. “We’re trying to make Pilates more accessible for everyone and trying to bring the workout to the masses, so it’s available to so many more people across the country. I had never tried it before Club Pilates, and I’d say you’re missing out if you’ve never tried it.”
Grove notes that he himself had participated in more traditional types of workouts for men, like lifting weights, boxing and kickboxing. “They’re great but very high impact, which takes a toll,” he says. “I found that adding Pilates every other day really counteracts those negative effects from the other workouts, and I get just as good of a workout with Pilates because it’s low impact and so beneficial to your core, balance and spine structure.”
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Rexall boosts the ‘wow’ factor of its stores with its Inspired Beauty departments.
By Alan Dorich
Women who come to Rexall Pharmacy Group Ltd.’s beauty departments want more than just products. “People are often looking for a specific look,” Executive Vice President and Chief Merchandising Officer Mary Kelly says.
Rexall’s stores help them achieve that look through its Inspired Beauty departments, which co-locate a variety of product brands and tools in one place. “We’re able to bring hair, skin, nails and the whole look together,” Kelly says.
Based in Mississauga, Ontario, the company operates more than 470 Rexall and Rexall Pharma Plus locations across Canada. With a heritage dating back to 1904, Rexall has evolved into one of the most trusted pharmacies in its home country.
Rexall enjoyed great success after the recent launch of its Inspired Beauty departments in three existing stores and two new locations. Kelly explains that the initiative began when the company decided to focus more on its beauty business.
“We started brainstorming six to eight months in advance with some of our beauty partners,” she recalls. “We sat down with them and got their views about Rexall and our customers.”
The company also performed research with customers, enabling it to get a better view of the beauty industry worldwide. “From that, we started to create our vision of what Rexall could do,” Kelly says.
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Michigan State University’s Culinary Services department offers a wealth of dining and retail opportunities to students and campus communities.
By Jim Harris
Michigan State University’s Culinary Services department offers more than just meals to students on the East Lansing, Mich., campus. The department’s physical and culinary offerings help to further the university’s mission of preparing students for the professional world by giving them a sense of community as well as something to eat.
“Feeling a sense of belonging can contribute to student success; we want students to be successful in and out of the classroom, and once they graduate and start their career we want them to be comfortable in what they do,” Executive Director of Culinary Services Guy Procopio says.
The department formed in 2008 following the combination of the university’s retail services and residential dining functions. During the re-organization, Procopio – who was named head of the new department – was tasked with creating an integrated operation that kept student success at the forefront. “We’re about more than just great food – we want to provide spaces that promote student success and help build community,” he says.
MSU Culinary Services’ retail food services include Sparty’s, an on-campus convenience store concept with 21 locations; two campus food courts, one of which is self-operated with the department’s own self-branded concepts while the other includes a corporate-owned Panda Express, a Subway franchise and a location for Woody’s Oasis, a local Mediterranean-style eatery; beverage and vending services and a food truck. The department also operates two Starbuck’s Coffee franchises as well as the concessions for on-campus athletic facilities.
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LCBO develops technology to enhance the customer experience and solidify its position as the premier destination for alcohol sales in Ontario.
By Tim O’Connor
What’s a bar without alcohol? For the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO), it’s a demonstration of social responsibility. The organization opened Bar Zero in November, a pop-up bar in Toronto specializing in 0 percent alcohol cocktails. “We try to show people having a good time and a safe time are one and the same,” says Keeley Rogers, LCBO senior communications consultant.
Bar Zero is just the latest in LCBO’s 90-year history of responsible stewardship of Ontario’s alcohol industry. The organization, which is one of the world’s largest buyers and retailers of alcohol, lessens its carbon footprint by transporting product on waterways such as the St. Lawrence Seaway, utilizes lighter-weight, recyclable glass bottles and chemically tests all of the products it sells.
Its responsibility extends to consumer education. LCBO works with organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and launched its own website, www.alwaystakingcare.ca, to promote moderate consumption and safe drinking practices.
The LCBO’s socially responsible practices are tied to the organization’s status as an enterprise of the government of Ontario, making it effectively owned by the province’s taxpayers. LCBO stems back to 1927 when Ontario was the last southern province to end prohibition and created the LCBO as a means to control the distribution and sale of beer and spirits. The enterprise now operates 657 retail stores throughout Ontario and earns $5.57 billion in revenue. Those sales provide a direct benefit to the province through an annual dividend – $1.935 billion in 2015-16 – that funds roads, health programs and other infrastructure projects and public initiatives in Ontario.
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Tradewinds believes in giving back to the community as much as it possibly can.
By Chris Petersen
Every company wants to be successful, but Tradewinds stands out because it invests heavily in ensuring that its communities are successful, too. CEO Chuck Lawrence says the company is committed to making sure the communities it serves in Maine thrive just as much as its supermarkets, convenience stores and car washes. By investing in employee housing, donating to local charities and supporting other local businesses, Tradewinds is keeping Maine a vibrant place to live and work for the future, Lawrence says.
Originally operating a single supermarket location in Blue Hill, Maine, Lawrence discovered an opportunity to expand when another supermarket in the area burned down. Lawrence bought the property and built his second supermarket, which has been expanded several times to become the flagship of the Tradewinds Marketplace chain today.
Today, the company has four supermarkets, five convenience stores and two car washes under its umbrella, and although the company faces some strong competition in at least one of its markets from Walmart, Tradewinds nevertheless thrives thanks in no small part to the people it has in place.
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Benefit Cosmetics solidifies its place as the leader in brow products and services while it stays true to its customers’ beauty needs.
By Stephanie Crets
Are your brows behaving badly? Do you want your eyelashes to stand out? Do you need to minimize the dark circles under your eyes? Whatever the beauty dilemma, Benefit Cosmetics has the beauty solution.
“The great thing about Benefit is that it’s a brand for every gal,” Senior Vice President of Marketing Nicole Frusci says. “We are all about instant beauty solutions – looking at customer needs and solving their beauty dilemmas. From in-store to social media, we weave our DNA through everything we do. Bold and girly is one piece, along with laughter and fun, which are elements of the persona and personality of the brand that we try to live out loud every single day.”
With more than 1,800 locations worldwide in 47 markets, including 30 in the United States, Benefit products are widely accessible. Benefit offers several ways customers can purchase products: Benefit Boutiques, gondolas in beauty retailers such as Sephora, Ulta and Macy’s locations and all retailer websites including Birchbox.com. The boutiques set the pace for a salon-style experience, where the associates will take their time giving a service to the customer and offering tips and tricks. For the gondolas, however, Benefit has to compete with an array of other beauty brands.
“My approach is big, bold, girly and pink,” Senior Director of Visual Merchandising Ralph Johnson says. “We have kitschy, fun and playful marketing visuals, funny sayings and irreverent packaging, but we have to deliver on a serious product. We go the extra mile to create custom, quality packaging that stands out at retail. The product begs to be glorified in a special way with our creative fixtures. For example, our Roller Lash mascara is merchandised on a giant hair roller. We have the opportunity to be fun and crazy with each product.”
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HVHC’s Visionworks has been ranked #150 on Forbes’ national “Best Employers” list, among companies within a range of industries and institutions, and was also ranked #14 on the related “Best Employers in Texas” report. With feedback like that, it’s easy to see how exciting it is to be a part of the HVHC family. At a time when many companies are scaling back their employee and even customer experience, HVHC is showing the industry how to succeed.
To properly introduce HVHC, it’s necessary to understand just what comprises this quickly growing corporation. Headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, HVHC Inc. and its subsidiaries make up one of the largest vertically integrated optical companies in the United States and are leaders in integrated vision care solutions. HVHC is a three--spoke corporation comprised of national optical retailer, Visionworks, managed vision care provider; Davis Vision; and HVHC Distribution and Manufacturing, the operations arm that supports Visionworks and Davis Vision. These three branches interact in a mutually beneficial relationship, supporting each other’s industries and providing a comprehensive customer experience.
From its inception in 1984, Visionworks, then called Eye Care Centers of America, has been a retailer with a passion. Whether it’s providing regular eye exams to encourage health and wellness or helping a customer to express their individual style with dozens of top fashions, Visionworks goes well beyond the business of eyewear, creating a collective calling shared by every employee. This calling is to make sure that every customer that enters a Visionworks store leaves with the best possible vision and a style that fits their self-expression. “At the end of the day, people come to us because they want to have the best possible vision they can have,” Visionworks President and HVHC President and CEO Jim Eisen emphasizes. Visionworks takes that desire and makes it a company mission.
In 2006, Eye Care Centers of America and Davis Vision joined forces, providing members with access to the largest selection of fashionable eyewear. Founded 100 years ago as Davis Optical, Davis Vision now has more than 60,000 points of access, while remaining true to its family owned American roots and values. More than 22 million members enjoy the lowest possible out-of-pocket cost, due largely to the integrated business model of HVHC, which relies on Visionworks retail stores and wholly owned labs. While Visionworks offers its customers all the products and services necessary to serve their vision needs, Davis Vision improves on that experience through improved plan designs and ready access to high-quality, fashionable eyewear and state-of-the-art eye care services.
HVHC Distribution and Manufacturing provides the products and operations necessary to make Visionworks and Davis Vision the successes they are. HVHC Distribution and Manufacturing encompasses five fabrication labs and two distribution centers, all proudly based in the United States. With these resources, HVHC fabricated and delivered more than 4.8 million pairs of eyewear in 2016. By eliminating any intermediary, HVHC Distribution and Manufacturing is able to ensure that every product sold in a Visionworks store is of the highest quality and that out-of-pocket costs for Davis Vision customers are as low as possible. With unique partnerships, top expertise and advanced robotics and processing equipment, HVHC Distribution and Manufacturing brings Visionworks and Davis Vision to life.
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The ICEE Company sees continuing significant growth for its iconic frozen beverage treat as it prepares to celebrate 50 years.
By Stephanie Crets
It’s Friday night, and you’re relaxing after a long workweek with a trip to the movies with one of your friends. Before you find your seats, you approach the concession counter and see the variety of choices: candy boxes, pretzels and cheese sauce, mini pizzas and popcorn busting out of the popper. Then, you spot the red and blue striped cups on display and the Cherry and Blue Raspberry flavors mixing inside the machine, ready for you to indulge. Your decision is easily made, and you treat yourself to not only a big bag of buttery popcorn, but also an ICEE to enjoy with your movie.
And that’s what The ICEE Company is all about: reminding us that we deserve a treat. “It’s such an iconic, fun product,” President Dan Fachner says. “You can barely mention the name without having a smile on your face. What makes it so unique is that it’s fun and people think of it as a treat or reward or something special to get for their loved one or themselves when they are away from home. That’s what’s made it so strong over the years.”
ICEE has been around for 50 years and many consumers feel a nostalgic pull towards it. “All of us grew up being promised an ICEE from our parent or grandparent,” Fachner says. “That reward carries the nostalgic feel throughout generations. People usually associate ICEE nostalgically with a fun event that happened in their life, such as getting an ICEE after a baseball game or having one at the amusement park with their friends or family. The colors of the ICEE brand have a nostalgic, Americana feel, and people immediately recognize the red and blue striped cup, the ICEE polar bear, spoon straw and dome lid all as part of the original, official and authentic ICEE brand.”
The ICEE Company infuses a tremendous amount of fun into the brand thanks to the types of customers it does business with. ICEE frozen treats are found in a variety of retail locations, including movie theaters, amusement parks, convenience stores and mass-merchandisers. The ICEE Company has 75,000 locations nationally and continues to grow at a rapid pace, not just domestically but also internationally in countries such as China, Central and South America, Mexico, Spain, Europe and Australia. It is also growing into new, different categories such as Dollar Stores, fast casual dining and buffet style restaurants.
“We currently have some exciting opportunities internationally that will continue to grow,” Fachner relates. “Equally fast is our domestic growth, not only in traditional locations, but also in exciting new categories of business we continue to explore. Theater channel partnerships have proven to grow significantly and have now expanded into China and Europe.
“What we do well that has allowed us to grow is we are great marketers of a really good product and sell to strong partners and take care of them,” he continues. “We have passionate dedicated people who understand the product and the importance of customer service. We understand our customers and try to deliver the best product at the best pricing in the best package they’re looking for. All of those segments have become significant drivers in growing our brand strength. Our product stimulates your senses in a bold way, and we have a broad distribution that allows customers to get ICEE at a moment’s notice. ICEE is an authentic, classic brand that makes consumers part of a tradition and become storytellers.”
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