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01/11/2017

PG Web Extra: Dietitians Essential to Coborn’s Service Strategy

Coborn’s Inc. takes a whole-store approach to health and wellness, with its retail dietitians working closely with in-store pharmacists to counsel consumers on eating better and staying healthy.

Launching this service at its new Isanti, Minn., Coborn’s Marketplace store (PG’s January 2017 Store of the Month), the St. Cloud, Minn.-based company has retail dietitians at three stores, each serving multiple locations. Registered dietitian Amy Peick is based at the Isanti store and serves three other locations as well.

According to Peick, she and the other Coborn’s RDs collaborate with pharmacists on developing eating plans for consumers, a service that’s become highly popular with the community. “We’ll do in-store events, promotions to create awareness of various topics,” she says, such as National Diabetes Month in November, going on during PG’s visit to Isanti. “It’s great to have a team of support so we’re all on the same page.”

“Our dietitians will host classes for folks to come in to learn about nutrition,” Peick says. “We offer complementary services in store and in the community.” For example, monthly Wellness Wednesday classes at three stores feature RDs and pharmacists discussing current issues of health and nutrition.

Peick says that store tours are her favorite consumer engagement tool “because we get to go through every aisle of the store to discuss healthy options,” she explains. “People want to learn -- they want that immediate response.”

Splitting her time evenly between the store and out in the community, Peick has done presentations at schools, which usually lead to inviting kids to the store for a visit. “It’s fun to bring people into the store and show them how we’re a part of the community,” she says.

Peick also finds that kids are enthusiastic about helping their parents learn the NuVal shelf-tag system that Coborn’s uses to rate the nutritional value of products. Another cue that Coborn’s is promoting wellness: the grab-and-go cold case at the front end, stocked with items like fresh juices, cut fruit and yogurt.

“They are all so interested in tips on being more healthy,” Peick says of the community. “People pop in and ask questions. … I like to be in the aisles to talk to people. It’s amazing the conversations that start -- things have really taken off.”