A year following its August 2020 acquisition of Mechanical Servants, dba Convenience Valet (CV), Lil’ Drug Store Products Inc. is poised to take full advantage of the combined strengths of the two companies in an economy that is fast recovering and bringing new life to the on-the-go marketplace, including travel, hospitality and convenience store retailers, among many others.
With the acquisition, LDSP has grown to serve approximately 160,000 retail locations with on-the-go products such as health, beauty, automotive, sunglasses, snacks and more.
“In spite of pandemic-related challenges, we’ve made great progress in aligning our two business cultures to the advantage of our combined roster of customers and brand partners,” said Chris DeWolf, CEO of LDSP. “With the economy on a strong rebound, customers and brand partners are now experiencing the benefits of our combined strengths.”
Here’s how customers and brand partners are benefiting from the alignment of these point-of-need powerhouses:
- Enhanced Presence in C-Stores. Traditionally, customers partnered with either LDSP or CV. As a result, innovation was limited to the ideas, insights, and product portfolio of the incumbent. Now, operating as one company, customers have access to a complete line-up of established, innovative and emerging solutions.
- Extended Reach. LDSP has now expanded its reach by approximately 25,000 additional retail locations that include hotels and resorts, hospitals, airports, cruise lines, corporate cafeterias and specialty retailers. Plus, CV’s solid relationships with the club and dollar channels have enhanced LDSP’s previously more limited access to these markets.
- Expanded Product Offerings. LDSP has expanded its portfolio of over-the-counter drugs, beauty products, cell phone accessories, auto supplies, sunglasses and private label products. Prior to the acquisition, LDSP launched a comprehensive six-count drug program (up from four-count) to the industry. Now, LDSP is marketing this program of larger-size products to the entire industry – an important growth opportunity for customers and suppliers, and an added value for consumers. Additionally, through CV’s expertise, LDSP has designed and launched a travel-specific cellular accessory program for the industry.
- Expanded Relationships with Brand Partners. The increased scale and scope of LDSP’s industry presence has not gone unnoticed by LDSP’s brand partners, which include Alcon, Carmex, NoDoz, Ricola, Johnson & Johnson, Associated Distributors, Harvest Snaps and many more. For example, Carma Laboratories, makers of Carmex lip balm, has been a strategic partner of LDSP’s since 2008, yet has had limited success in the travel market. Now, by leveraging CV’s expertise, Carmex is being broadly introduced to travel locations.
- Pharmaceutical Companies Partnering with LDSP. Increasingly, pharmaceutical companies are turning to LDSP as their partner in supplying a market in which their direct experience is more limited than LDSP’s. GSK, for example, is now working with LDSP in a more strategic manner. For pharmas wishing to build and diversify their customer base, LDSP is a one-stop-shop to access complex and fragmented channels in an organized and simplified way.
- More Field Service Representatives. Providing the services of field service representatives is an important and growing part of LDSP’s future. Through its partnership with Associated Distributors, LDSP now has access to more than 40 merchandising professionals available to act as the eyes and ears of the retail operation, to help determine and meet their sales and growth needs, and to help set stores, audit planograms, write orders, sell seasonal items, organize displays and more.
- Additional Focus on Merchandising and Category Management. The consolidation of the convenience industry, the strong bounce-back from COVID-19 and the CV acquisition have brought an increased demand for data-driven merchandising and category management. LDSP’s experienced category management team works closely with customers to ensure they maximize sales and profits. Over the last eighteen months, LDSP has partnered with an additional 9,500 retail locations for its category management services.
“LDSP has grown into a business that keeps investing and bringing value and new ideas to the on-the-go market,” noted DeWolf. “With the rapid consolidation of the industry, the evolution of consumer preferences, the increased sophistication of our customers and the rapid economic recovery, we have to be – and want to be – much more than a supplier of products for our customers and brand partners. We continue to invest in our capabilities and capacity to innovate and grow with our partners.”
Founded in 1974 to provide convenient relief to travelers, Lil’ Drug Store Products today serves approximately 160,000 retail outlets. With its growing roster of brand partnerships, LDSP supplies name brand and private labeled health and beauty products, automotive needs, sunglasses, cellular accessories, and snack products to retail and wholesale customers.