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Wellwise store format launched by SDM

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TORONTO — Shoppers Drug Mart (SDM) has developed a new store format called Wellwise that is designed to appeal to seniors who don’t want to shop at an “old person’s store.”

The pilot store on Wicksteed Avenue in Toronto features bright lighting and vivid colors, instead of the beige decor typically associated with more clinical settings. And it has a merchandise mix meant to appeal to a broad age range, with products from mobility items to yoga mats, weights for Pilates, and braces and brands for Millennial “weekend warriors.”

The overarching principle of the store concept is to let people take control of how they age, according to Theresa Firestone, senior vice president of health care businesses at SDM. The “mobility” section, for example, focuses on movements people can make, as opposed to their disabilities.

The store has a spacious layout with aisles that are wide enough to be navigated by people pushing patients in wheelchairs. That is a helpful feature for shoppers who are caregivers, which is a significant population, representing about one in five Canadians, or more than 6 million people.

The store also emphasizes services, including those of dietitians, that will extend into the neighborhood.

“We want to be part of the community and part of the dialogue about changing the conversation on aging,” said Scott Wilks, vice president of Shoppers Home Health Care. “A big part is to promote healthy, active living. You stay active, you’ll stay well and you’ll age powerfully.”

Going hand in hand with the debut of Wellwise will be the launch of a national (initially excluding Quebec) e-commerce business for seniors’ needs, at the wellwise.ca website. SDM also continues to operate 49 Shoppers Home Health Care stores in three provinces.

“We’re really hopeful that we’ve got a great combination with the bricks and mortar and the e-commerce,” Firestone commented. “We’re launching really two parts to this at the same time.”


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