In Toronto yesterday. For the annual supplier-partner conference sponsored by London Drugs (slides).
What a company!
The Richmond BC (British Columbia, chums) company has over 60 giant retail stores in Western and Central Canada. They have won every damned "top retailer" award available in Canada, and many for North America as a whole.
The "drugs" part is awesome in and of itself—including many "service added"/"experience" components, such as private consultation booths for customers to allow discussion-education relative to a prescription. While LD has been called a "mass" merchant, all their major departments—e.g., photo, computers, cosmetics—feature an astonishing range of products (peanuts to several thousand dollars an item) and exquisite education-service, provided by an amazingly well-trained, lower-than-low turnover staff.
Store openings are Happenings of the first order, even in big cities. And if anyone outside of IKEA deserved the moniker "destination," it's London Drugs. The payoff for the firm, opened in 1945 and owned by the private conglomerateur H.Y. Louie Co. Ltd., is numbers to die for ... getting ever better, even as Wal*Mart's invasion of Canada moves at flank speed.
(Oh yes, did I mention that they are such an IS/IT pioneer that they often are positively compared to Wal*Mart when it comes to supply-chain management? And did I mention that they are ... Design Fanatics ... of the First Order; the stores are simply eye-popping!)
By the by, longtime President Wynne Powell is as exceptional as the enterprise. He is a champion nonpareil of Fun & Commitment & Care & Enthusiasm & Talent Acquisition-Retention & Brash Experimentation-Innovation.
London Drugs is the newest member of X04, my new "excellence" Hall of Fame (my first since In Search of ...). Fellow members are another Canadian winner at the tip top ... Cirque du Soleil; and India's audacious Infosys. Plus scintillating-experience maniacs Build-a-Bear (which just went public, very successfully) and healing-freaks Planetree Alliance/Griffin Hospital. Also see our Special Presentation ... X04.