Until recently, the only mayo found in Winn-Dixie stores was next to the mustard.
But in what some may consider an odd pairing, the prestigious Mayo Foundation is teaming up with Winn-Dixie grocery stores across the South and lower Midwest in an effort to provide better healthcare information to the general public-and maybe pick up some patients along the way.
Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo plans to have these health information centers, or kiosks, in all 600 Winn-Dixie stores in 14 states by the end of this year. Jacksonville, Fla.-based Winn-Dixie also owns Thriftway pharmacies, which are either part of the grocery stores or freestanding. Some of the kiosks will be in the stand-alone Thriftways.
The arrangement is a variation of a national branding campaign. "This move by Mayo will bring their brand name down from atop their prestigious mountain and give them recognition on a community level," said Joe Marconi, a healthcare marketing consultant based in Western Springs, Ill. "Mayo is positioning itself in areas where it might not be well known."
Winn-Dixie stores in Jacksonville will be the first locations to receive the kiosks, with installations completed by mid-April. Jacksonville is also home to one of Mayo's major healthcare facilities.
"Winn-Dixie is fairly new to the pharmacy business," said Micky Clerc, vice president and director of public relations for the grocer. "We are trying very hard to establish ourselves as a healthcare resource. Through cooperation with Mayo, we can start building a good reputation."
This is the first time Mayo has launched an information strategy to benefit the public at large, or any such activity outside of its regular day-to-day business activities. "This is not a revenue-generating operation," said Suzanne Leaf-Brock, a spokeswoman for Mayo. "Mayo has had a longstanding relationship with Winn-Dixie. Winn-Dixie donated the land on which (Mayo Clinic Jacksonville) is located."
The centers include a publication rack where free literature is displayed alphabetically by topic. On the back of the information cards, Mayo Clinic offers advice about when to seek help from a healthcare provider, and a 1-800 number is provided for further information.
The Mayo name is displayed on both the kiosks and the publications, but the caller isn't referred to clinical staff.
"Even when people don't need to go to the doctor, they need reliable answers about their health concerns," said Jerry Pietan, M.D., a radiologist at the Mayo Clinic Jacksonville. "Our new community service gives helpful, easy-to-read information on everyday health issues from athlete's foot to vitamin deficiency."
Brief health tips also will be displayed along pharmacy aisles to help people understand everything from treating acne and first aid for insect stings to sprained ankles. The tips focus on helping shoppers make informed healthcare decisions and offer self-care strategies for conditions such as minor burns, bunions and constipation.
In addition to the free literature, Winn-Dixie will carry Mayo Clinic books and CD-ROMs, available for sale to people who need more comprehensive medical resources. Revenues that Mayo will receive from these products is used to support programs in medical education and research, such as Mayo's extensive research programs in Alzheimer's, heart disease and cancer.
Not-for-profit Mayo operates 11 hospitals and affiliated practices in six states. It reported 1996 revenues of $3.7 billion.