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Helping Local Independent Pharmacies Compete Against Megaretailers

Vitamin company Mundo Natural is including businesses that sell its natural products in its radio and television commercials


July 1, 2004
Copyright © 2004 CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All Rights Reserved.

Independent pharmacies in local communities are getting a helping hand in their efforts to compete with big pharmacy chains and megaretailers from vitamin company Mundo Natural, which is including them in its radio and television commercials.

"Independent community pharmacies in our urban centers have been severely affected by competition not only from big pharmacy chains but from department stores and warehouse clubs as well," Mundo Natural President Ricardo Panneflek told CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. "That is why we decided to include the names of these pharmacies in our radio and television promotions."

Panneflek explained that every time a local pharmacy signs on to sell Mundo Natural’s products, its name is mentioned during the company-sponsored health sections on FM radio stations Cima, Z-93, Onda 94, Estereotempo, and La Mega. It will also receive a mention during "El Show de las 12" ("The Noon Show") and a special weekend program on Channel 2, as well as on a telemarketing program on Channel 7.

"This way, we build a strong alliance that guarantees local merchants have alternatives to advertise their businesses and take their message to the communities they serve," said Panneflek, though he didn’t reveal what his company is investing in this advertising.

Available in Puerto Rico since 1999, Mundo Natural’s line of 101 natural herbs, vitamins, minerals, products for sports nutrition, and specialized formulas is sold in more than 30% of the island’s 1,000 independent community pharmacies, said Panneflek. These include Drogueria Betances, Borshow, Drogueria Central, and Drugs Unlimited. Last year, Mundo Natural made $1 million in sales.

According to Panneflek, natural products can treat a wide variety of conditions such as weight gain, diabetes, high cholesterol, asthma, and sexual impotence. He noted that local naturopaths are buying and recommending the company’s products, which include Fiber Fat Seltzer, Noni Juice, and Lipotrim.

"To me, keeping people healthy is a vocation, not a business," said Panneflek. "Lately, there has been a migration from traditional medicine to alternative medicine. More and more physicians are going back to using home [natural] remedies to treat patients."

The prime materials for the company’s products, added Panneflek, come from five countries and are manufactured, encapsulated, and bottled in Florida following strict U.S. Food & Drug Administration guidelines.

"Unlike other products sold via telemarketing, Mundo Natural is the only brand of natural vitamins sold and marketed in the local market that has its central offices and representation in Puerto Rico," noted Panneflek. "Consumers can be certain we are a trusted and committed company, one they can always count on."

The company has its headquarters and main store on Campo Rico Avenue in Carolina; a second store is in Bayamon. Mundo Natural takes orders through a toll-free number and offers free home delivery throughout Puerto Rico. The company has some 182,000 clients who buy over the phone, noted Panneflek.

Whereas chain stores such as GNC and Vitamin World provide discounts to their members only on certain days, Mundo Natural offers its clients a 20% discount year-round when they present a membership card from either of these chains.

This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.
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