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    PROGRESSIVE GROCER EXCLUSIVE: Roundy’s Launches Consumer, Employee H1N1, Seasonal Virus Preparedness Campaign

    To ensure that its employees and customers throughout Wisconsin and Minnesota have the information they need to stay healthy during peak influenza season, Roundy’s Supermarkets is reaching out with a company- and community-wide educational effort that provides relevant information about the seasonal flu and H1N1 viruses, prevention methods, and available vaccination options.

    To ensure that its employees and customers throughout Wisconsin and Minnesota have the information they need to stay healthy during peak influenza season, Roundy’s Supermarkets is reaching out with a company- and community-wide educational effort that provides relevant information about the seasonal flu and H1N1 viruses, prevention methods, and available vaccination options.

    The cornerstone element of the effort -- titled “Learn. Protect. Decide.” -- is an informational video featuring Robert Mariano, chairman and CEO of Milwaukee-based Roundy’s, and Dr. Alan Harris, an infectious-disease expert affiliated with Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center and a longtime consultant for the retailer.

    The company’s 19,000 employees are required to view the educational video -- which is also available on the homepage of Roundy’s Web site -- at their workplaces, where they also have access to brochures and other material on flu avoidance and prevention tips. The video is additionally supported with handout brochures featuring good-health tips for the flu season at all of Roundy’s Pick ’n Save, Copps, Rainbow and Metro Market stores.

    Aside from serving as an instructional tool alone, Roundy’s leadership role in flu awareness and prevention is part of the company’s overall mission to serve as a trustworthy, reliable resource for its associates and customers alike. “We wanted to be able provide solid information in an instructive format that is easy for people to understand and learn more about H1N1, and more specifically, what they can do to keep themselves and their loved ones safe and healthy during the ongoing flu season,” Mariano told Progressive Grocer.

    Roundy’s prioritized communication with its associates about seasonal and H1N1 influenza preparation, he continued, was particularly necessary in light of “our role as food handlers,” which he said “requires us to go above and beyond to keep ourselves healthy and our workplaces clean and neat. Because our business requires our employees to consistently engage with customers, everyone who works at Roundy’s has a special responsibility to do all we can to take care of ourselves and prevent the spread of viruses,” Mariano explained. “We also believe we should help our customers protect themselves and their families from seasonal flu and H1N1 by learning more about these viruses.”

    In further discussing the dual consumer/employee wellness campaign that initially focused on employees roughly a week before the consumer phase rolled out, Mariano said the initiatives were created to be as credible, accessible and down-to-earth as possible. “We did not want to be preachy or appear to be lecturing — which is potentially big turn-off for most people. Instead, we wanted to give folks a chance to think, listen and take the best course of action for themselves and their families.”

    In the spirit of “information as power,” Mariano said he’s been pleased by the positive feedback the video has generated among associates, who have an opportunity to become “knowledgeable, informed and equipped to take action if need be. We also want to be a good resource for our customers, as a place to turn to for reliable information and helpful [wellness-related] hints.”

    Roundy’s, which operates 153 stores under the Pick ’n Save, Copps, Rainbow, and Metro Market banners, has provided DVDs of the video to all of its stores, which have been playing it in lunchrooms frequently and which will continue to be updated on an as-needed basis. “We are also encouraging our store leadership teams to gather four to eight team members together to view it as a group,” explained Mariano, “not only to watch it, but also to talk about it among themselves,” which in turn helps spur idea exchanges among associates, “not only about flu-related concerns, but also about what’s happening in each other’s lives. I think that’s how people start to feel comfortable and empowered to help themselves with information rather than feel paralyzed about not knowing what to do” if they’re stricken with the flu.

    The full spectrum of Roundy’s communications efforts related to the seasonal flu and pandemic H1N1 viruses includes simple, easy-to-follow tips based on CDC recommendations, said Mariano, adding that Roundy’s stores with pharmacies are currently offering seasonal flu vaccinations.

    To view the video, visit http://www.roundys.com/assets/flu_prevention/Roundys_customers.html.

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