Walmart is giving the recently approved Moderna vaccine to healthcare workers at select Walmart stores and Sam’s Clubs in the state of New Mexico. “Because Walmart pharmacists will be on the front lines of administering these vaccines, the company is offering its first doses to them,” according to Chain Store Age. “The retailer noted it is also preparing its 5,000-plus pharmacies at Sam’s Clubs and Walmart stores to be ready when the time comes to administer to essential workers, first responders and older Americans.”
Hotels and restaurants are joining forces to offer private dining for consumers weary of staying at home. Among the first to reinvent themselves were chef Aidan O’Neal of Le Crocodile brasserie and the Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn, which created Le Crocodile Upstairs by removing beds and installing custom-made tables in 13 hotel rooms, where private parties of up to 10 could dine ($100 per person for a three-course dinner). “With New Year’s Eve approaching, similar partnerships have cropped up across the country,” according to The New York Times.
Dunkin’ is launching “Extra Charged Coffee” on Wednesday, which it says has 20% more caffeine than Dunkin’s classic hot and iced coffee. The new coffee includes green coffee extract, which provides the extra caffeination. The fast food retailer is also introducing the Dunkfetti Donut, a cake ring with confetti sprinkles baked in and topped with a sweet glaze, a gluten-free fudge brownie and Croissant Stuffers.
Urban planner and architect Stefano Boeri has designed what the Italian government hopes will be inviting vaccination locations. “Best known for making so-called vertical forests out of Milan skyscrapers, Mr. Boeri has sought to help his country with architectural flower power — designing 1,500 pavilions with a primrose theme where the vaccine will be distributed,” per The New York Times. “The primrose is the first flower after the winter” Boeri says, calling his vision for the building design “a strong message that everyone can understand.”
Retailers and shipping companies are gearing up for what’s expected to be a brutal season for unwanted goods headed back to their source. “Many retailers that encouraged people to start their holiday shopping early extended return deadlines this holiday season, which may help spread out the returns,” according to the Chicago Tribune. “Some merchants also are trying to make it less of a hassle to get rid of unwanted items and get a refund.”
Yoga mats are usually pretty utilitarian, but leave it to luxury brand Louis Vuitton to take it up a notch. However a $2,390 mat made from cowhide reportedly offends the religion practiced in India, where yoga was born. Cows are sacred in Hinduism, so Rajan Zed of the Universal Society of Hinduism is “calling for an apology from the powers that be at Louis Vuitton,” according to InsideHook. He is also asking the company to remove the yoga mat from circulation.
United Airlines will begin asking passengers traveling from London to Chicago and other cities for proof of a negative COVID-19 test before departure in an effort to stop the spread of a mutant coronavirus strain that is said to be up to 70% more transmissible. The policy, which requires a test to be taken within 72 hours of a flight, applies to passengers who are older than five years old and whose travel originates in the U.K. The policy affects people departing London Heathrow Airport to O’Hare International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport, Washington Dulles International Airport and San Francisco …
The Federal Drug Administration has sent Whole Foods Market a warning letter for “engaging in a pattern” of receiving and selling misbranded store brand food products that do not carry appropriate allergen warnings. “The letter comes after years in which the Amazon-owned business has shifted the production of bakery, prepared food and specialty items away from central commissary kitchens and bakeries and towards third-party co-packers,” according to BevNet.
Tiki bars have come through the roughest of times. During the 2008 recession, tiki bars began sprouting up all over the country. But it might be time to repair the format. “A new generation of beverage-industry professionals are shining a light on the genre’s history of racial inequity and cultural appropriation, which has long been ignored because it clashes with the carefree aesthetic,” according to The New York Times. “A recent movement aims to shift from the word ‘tiki to ‘tropical.’”
The worldwide pandemic did result in some positives, at least in the world of marketing, despite falling marketing budgets. “The fashion sector has embraced digital and moved ever-closer to the consumer – with benefits that will extend into 2021,” per Vogue Business. “In an ultra-tough market, a strong connection with customers has become essential for survival. Customer-led businesses that have built strong digital engagement with their audiences hold all the cards.”