Lil’ Drug Store Products Inc., Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is celebrating its 35th anniversary as a pioneer in the non-prescription sample drug market that has changed health and beauty care in the convenience, grocery, drug and mass market retailing sectors.
What began in 1974 as a four-item product line available in Iowa, now serves customers, wholesalers and retailers across the U.S. and in 33 countries. Lil’ Drug Store Products’ started with the idea of making premium over-the-counter health and beauty care products available to consumers in easy-to-use, trial-size packages, which transformed the sale of drug products in retail locations. Today Lil’ Drug Store Products continues to pride itself on its ability to recognize and respond to market needs.
Lil’ Drug Store Products’ made great strides when it realized that the women‘s health care and wellness market was underserved and expanded in 2000 into branded products aimed at improving women’s health and quality of life.
“We research, develop and market highly effective, clinically studied products aimed at solving real problems and improving quality of life for countless women,” said Casey McGowan, vice president of sales and marketing for Lil’ Drug Store Consumer Products. “Reaching consumers through major retailers such as Wal-Mart, Target and Walgreens, we have created a family of products that make a significant difference in women’s lives every day.”
The company’s commitment to women’s wellbeing is reflected in the dramatic growth revealed by the Nielsen Company’s market survey of intimacy/enhancement products. Since Lil’ Drug Store Products entered this market in 2000, annual sales nationwide have tripled.
Today, the company operates three divisions: convenience retailing (provides on-the-go health, beauty and automotive products in convenience and hospitality retailers); consumer products (develops and markets health and wellness products that meet consumer needs through drug, grocery and discount stores); and international (focusing on expansion of Lil’ Drug Store Products offerings around the world).
“Lil’ Drug Store Products is a world-class consumer products company offering a wide range of items by developing and acquiring our own brands, as well as marketing goods from the world’s most respected companies, said Christopher DeWolf, president/CEO/co-owner of the company. “Our distribution network allows us the ability to provide these products in trusted retail locations throughout the world. Our strategy is to meet the consumer at the point of need, on a wide range of concerns.”
In convenience retailing, the company offers about 250 products, available in more than 190,000 locations in the U.S. in three different categories: drug, auto and necessities. Through the drug program, trial-size brands of pain relievers, as Advil and Tylenol, allergy medications such as Benedryl and other cold symptom relievers are distributed. Personal care “Lil’ Necessities” products are available from Lil’ Drug Store Products, such as Carmex lip balm, Gillette shaving kits, Colgate toothpaste/toothbrushes, Scope Mouthwash and Head & Shoulders shampoo. The Lil’ Auto line offers products such as jumper cables, fuses and tire gauges. All of these are available through Lil’Drug Store Products’ distribution network and provide life’s necessities for millions of people in any situation.
The company continues looking for innovative opportunities. It currently is making its way in the energy shot market by bringing the respected AriZona Tea brand to retailers in 2-ounce shots, containing b vitamins and antioxidants.
In addition, Lil’ Drug Store Products is creating an exclusive marketing program with the respected, worldwide Office Depot chain, selecting and packaging a wide array of Office Depot and Lil’ Drug Store Products co-branded office products to maximize attractiveness for the convenience store retailer.
Aside from North and Central America, the company’s distribution encompasses South America, Western and Eastern Europe, Australia and the Pacific Rim. Through its regional distributors, Lil’ Drug Store Products can meet unique cultural issues and requirements in these regions. Global acceptance is enhanced by the company’s International Organization for Standardization (ISO) certifications in medical devices and quality management systems.
The company has come a long way in 35 years, and its president, DeWolf, who also was elected in 2009 to serve as the chair of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, defined what makes his organization special: “talented people, strong community and business relationships, innovation and operational excellence have been the reasons we have grown and prospered. We take pride in being a trusted company and are committed to being a market leader for many years to come.”