Shoppers Drug Mart’s new concept store Wellwise arrives in Leaside

Wellwise in LeasideShoppers Home Health Care has chosen Leaside as a site to test a new format/concept personal health and wellness store called Wellwise.

The idea behind the store is to create a positive, interactive shopping experience based on wellness rather than illness. “About a year ago we did a strategic review of our business and found that there was a shift going on out there,” explains Scott Wilks, vice president of Shoppers Home Health Care. “What we found was that people increasingly want to take control of how they age. They want to be a lot more proactive and involved in the aging process and how they search for and buy products. It got us thinking about how we could change our service base.”

At 3,500 sq. ft., the store, which opened in September in the SmartCentre complex off Laird Drive, is small compared to most Shoppers stores. Product categories such as active living, wellness and mobility are easily identified by different colours in the store. Products range from mobility aids and sleep therapy options to braces and joint supports, personal care products, vitamins, yoga mats and pilates weights.

The store has two private consultation rooms, interactive kiosks where customers can find information about products and issues such as compression stockings and blood flow, and it also features a registered dietitian, Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine expert for sleep apnea as well as professional fitters for braces, supports and compression products.

Many of the products are displayed out of their packages so customers can see and experience them first-hand and you even can book walking tours in the community through Urban Poling, a supplier of Nordic walking equipment.

Leaside, it appears, is an ideal neighbourhood to test the new concept store. “There are a lot of single and multi-family households, boomers, older seniors and caregivers, which are the exact demographic groups that we are trying to appeal to with this new concept,” says Wilks. “There are lots of products for ‘weekend warriors’ who have hurt their shoulders playing hockey or construction workers who suffer from back problems as well as lots of walking aids and personal products for the elderly.”

Wilks says Shoppers ultimately hopes to roll out as many as 23 bricks and mortar Wellwise stores in the future. An e-commerce site was expected to be up and running by the end of October. Depending on how well this prototype store in Leaside does, future stores may be larger in size, but all will be targeted to neighbourhoods with the right demographic mix.

“Leaside will prove to be a very valuable neighbourhood in this project,” Wilks says. “We’ll review the information we get and monitor feedback and make any changes that are necessary. We want to get this right.”