What do AARP, Emory University, and the Sierra Club have in common? A dislike for CVS drug stores that try to substitute for a full line grocery store. 4,000 residents of Emory Village signed a petition, submitted to the CVS convenience store chain by the Save Our Village Committee, which signalled the intention of residents to boycott a proposed CVS store for a site currently occupied by a Kroger grocery store. Kroger has not renewed its lease on the site, but the SOV committee wants to keep a grocery store in that space, not a CVS. Helping their cause is a letter from Emory University President Bill Chace, who notes that “closing (the Kroger) would be a tremendous loss to the community.” The district’s AARP chapter has also weighed in against CVS, noting that its elderly members have grown to depend on a grocery store in that location.” SOV contends that CVS should focus on expanded their current location at the nearby North Decatur & Clairmont Road location, instead of replacing a grocery store. CVS, however, has hired a “Strategic Communications Counselor”, apparently to help translate CVS’s corporate strategy to the local folks. CVS’ strategy, according to company documents, is “to fill in existing markets through new store openings and acquisitions…and achieve a 20% to 25% increase in sales primarily in higher-margin, front-store categories as customers begin to use the stores differently”. No wonder CVS needs a “Communications Counselor”, but just who is being counseled is not clear. The CVS Counselor told residents that the company would add streetscaping, benches and “retromood” additions (translation?). Emory Village residents are not buying the strategy. “What we’re interested in is maintaining a grocery store,” said on SOV leader, “and any gimmick they come up with will not be accepted by the community.” Finally, the Sierra Club has also joined in the battle to keep the CVS out, retromood or any other kind of mood.
Please write to CVS and tell them to stop calling PR people “Strategic Communications Counselors”, and to stop using words like “retromood” to describe their acrylic and pylon architecture. You can contact CVS at: www.cvs. com, or write to them at: CVS, One CVS Drive, Woonsocket, Rhode Island 02895.Their phone number is: 401-765-1500. Tell them to give up on the Kroger site in Emory Village, GA. Who knows, maybe a letter from you might put the company in a retromood!