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An interview with Margaux Drake is always a lively and educational one.

Drake is D&W Fresh Market's energetic and enthusiastic Living Well Lifestyle Expert. Her mission: “to spread the gospel of health and wellness one day at a time.”

I have interviewed her several times over the last year. Each time we talk, she is more than eager to share the latest and greatest D&W wellness offerings. My discussion with her last week was no different.

“Wait until you hear what we’re doing now!” she exclaimed.

When she was hired about one year ago, her main responsibility was to host in-store health workshops. While she continues to do that, she now has become a liaison between D&W and the community. She reaches out to area businesses to form co-sponsored events.

Some of these events have taken place at D&W stores. Take the free spin class that was held in November in the parking lot of one of its stores. A local bike shop provided the equipment, and participants exercised to DJ’d songs.

D&W just built on its relationship with the bike company by sponsoring its bike club. The D&W logo will be emblazoned on the back of the bikers’ riding jerseys. And Drake will offer refreshments and health information at the bike company’s in-house workshops.

Drake calls such partnerships a “win-win” because D&W gets access to the bike company’s customers, and vice versa.

Drake has also made herself known off-site as well. She attends business and community events to explain D&W’s commitment to health and wellness. For example, she recently visited Gazelle Sports, a healthy lifestyle clothing and equipment store, where she hosted a “Happy Hour” featuring infused-water.

She can also be found at community walks and 10k runs, where she works the “D&W Fresh Market Re-Hydration Station.”

D&W has the right idea.

Since most retail stores don’t have the scale to compete with large national chains on price, D&W can differentiate itself in a different way, Jim Hertel, managing partner at Willard Bishop, Barrington, Ill.

Likewise, by partnering with a local business, as opposed to a big national company, D&W makes it known that it wants to be part of the community, Hertel said.

As younger consumers become more influential, retailers need to show they appreciate their likes and interests.

D&W is doing just that.

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