Westview dentists uses biting humorDentists generally...

CONSUMER MARKETPLACE

March 27, 1993|By Michael Dresser | Michael Dresser,Staff Writer

Westview dentists uses biting humor

Dentists generally aren't known for their marketing prowess or their sense of humor, but Westview Family Dental Associates is filling that gap.

The practice, led by Drs. Murray, Larry and Todd Sarubin, hired Baltimore free-lancer Anne Schulte to create an ad campaign to let Westview Mall shoppers know the dentists were located in the mall's lower level.

Ms. Schulte, formerly of Gray Kirk & Evans, responded with an series of amusing posters reminding passers-by of the need for dental care. Sample: a drawing of a mouth with shiny white teeth and the message, "Ignore Them and They'll Go Away." She says the ads were designed to "project the feeling that these people ** are friendly and approachable."

The ad campaign reflects a growing awareness among dentists that they can't just hang out a shingle and expect the world to open wide. "What a lot of dentists are having to do is market themselves because people aren't having the cavity problems they used to," Ms. Schulte said.

Leedmark, Glen Burnie's humongous "hybrid" of a grocery and a discount store, has beefed up some departments to make itself more "consumer-friendly."

Among the changes at the sprawling store are a new garden center and expanded pet supply, toy and party goods departments. The store also will be moving a lot of furniture as it realigns aisles to improve traffic flow.

The new garden center will occupy 6,500 square feet, split between an extension of the indoor selling space and an outdoor area.

Edward Segal, Leedmark's spokesman, says the store has not eliminated any departments in its effort to "fine-tune the hybrid market concept." Changes were made in response to customers' suggestions, he adds.

Leedmark does not disclose its sales or earnings, but recent events suggest the company's French-led investors were BTC unhappy with the store's performance. Last month, the board of Leedmark's parent New Eldis Corp. ousted Didier Leconte as chairman and put expansion plans on hold. A week later the store cut its staff by 30 workers.

Whether these changes will help with Leedmark's fundamental challenge -- getting Americans to buy into the idea of one-stop shopping for grocery and non-grocery items -- is uncertain. But Leedmark's moves are a clear signal that the company has not given up on the concept.

General Nutrition on the march again

General Nutrition Corp., the nation's largest specialty vitamin vendor, is flexing its muscles in the Baltimore market with the addition of five new stores by May.

The Pittsburgh-based chain, whose 1,200-plus stores sold $453 million during the 1992 fiscal year, has already rented space for two stores: at Middlessex Shopping Center, 1342 Eastern Blvd., and Liberty Court, 8648 Liberty Road in Randallstown.

The company is seeking local franchisees to run the new stores.

GNC said its expansion in Baltimore, where it already has about a dozen stores, is a part of a strategy to expand the chain by 25 percent in 1993 with the launch of 300 new stores.

RM&D's billings earn 9th place in Southeast

Folks at Richardson, Myers & Donofrio are crowing about landing a spot on ADWEEK magazine's annual roster of the 15 hottest ad agencies in the Southeast. RM&D, named for the second year in a row, was the only Baltimore agency to make the list.

RM&D landed the No. 9 slot on the list on the strength of a 14.8 percent increase in billings from 1991 to 1992 -- a year when many agencies would have been content to break even, according to ADWEEK.

Among the agency's new accounts in 1992 were Ocean City, the port of Baltimore, the state health department's anti-cancer campaign and Columbia Medical. The firm also received a three-year extension of its contract to promote Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

One other Maryland agency, Earle Palmer Brown of Bethesda, also made the list. EPB was ranked 11th, with a 12.4 percent gain in billings.

Joppatowne Kmart features Md. products

Kmart Corp. is marking the opening of its largest store in Maryland with a display of Maryland-made products.

Goods manufactured by Procter & Gamble, Lever Brothers, McCormick & Co. and Maryland Plastics are among the products being promoted at the 115,000-square-foot store in Joppatowne, which held its grand opening Thursday.

The Joppatowne store is part of Kmart's $3 billion expansion and renewal program, which is expected to be complete by 1995.

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