OPERATIONS

Walgreens expanding solar energy initiative to 22 stores in Colorado

BY Marianne Wilson

Aurora, Col. — Walgreens has expanded its renewable energy initiative to Colorado. Clean-energy provider SolarCity announced it will implement solar systems at 22 Walgreens stores across 14 different cities in Colorado in the coming months, with the first installation completed in Aurora.

“A strong commitment to the local community is one of our company’s core values,” said Menno Enters, director of energy and sustainability at Walgreens. “SolarCity is helping us contribute to the health of the local communities we operate in by providing us with clean energy as well as contributing to the local economy in Colorado.”

Walgreens began implementing solar in 2007 at many of its retail stores across the country. The new rollout in Colorado brings the chain closer to reaching the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge. As a participant in the initiative, the company has committed to reducing its energy use by 20% by the year 2020 across 125 million sq. ft. of its retail floor space.

Walgreens ranked as the second leading retailer in the United States in utilization of renewable energy at its stores, according to Solar Energy Industries Association. The new solar systems cumulatively will reduce more than 47.5 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions over the next 20 years, which is comparable to planting 25,711 trees.

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OPERATIONS

Ace Hardware names new chief

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Oak Brook, Ill. — Ace Hardware Corp. announced that John Venhuizen has been named president and CEO of the hardware cooperative. The appointment is part of a strategic leadership transition that was announced last fall.

In September, Venhuizen was named president and COO of Ace Hardware, while Ace’s outgoing leader Ray Griffith maintained the title of CEO.

Venhuizen is a 20+-year veteran of Ace Hardware, having served in a variety of capacities.

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OfficeMax debuts smaller-store prototype targeting small businesses

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Naperville, Ill. — OfficeMax Inc. announced Monday the unveiling of a new format, OfficeMax Business Solutions Center, in downtown Milwaukee. The 5,000-sq.-ft. store is designed to serve small businesses with services, solutions and products to help local entrepreneurs grow their companies.

Located in The Shops of Grand Avenue, the new format replaces the previous OfficeMax store.

"With the launch of our new store, we are pleased to introduce a relationship-based retail service center focused on partnering with businesses to help them grow," said Ravi Saligram, president and CEO, OfficeMax.

Some of the services offered at the new concept include web hosting, customized web sites and cloud storage, as well as computer network setup, software installation and repair. OfficeMax offers business meeting space in the store and free Wi-Fi that allows customers to plug in and work. Employees even can help customers set up their websites.

The store also provides business card and sign printing, furniture and space planning, packaging and FedEx shipping, and document shredding. Products for sale include convertible laptops, smartphones, printers and shredders.

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