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Thursday, Jul 25, 2002

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Arogya woos health freaks

Rukmini Priyadarshini

A view of the Arogya health store in Bangalore.


PUSHING the health store concept amidst increasing health consciousness in Bangalore is Arogya — the `complete health store' retailing everything from tummy trimmers to protein drinks.

The brains behind the store are a family of professionals— from diverse fields such as software, sports dentistry, biological sciences and nutrition, orthopaedics, dietetics and ayurvedic and herbal medicine.

According to Mr Sriram Allampallam, CEO and President, Stardent Health Care, which promotes the Arogya health store, increasing health awareness is closely paralleled by an increase in cardiac, diabetic and stress complaints. Arogya targets the fitness industry, the anti-ageing industry, adventure sports and tourism industry and also deals with injury prevention and management and the common man. "We offer a wide range of products and speciality services including free counselling for customers on physiotherapy, nutrition, ayurvedic and herbal food supplements and in injury management,'' Mr Allampallam said.

The company has a tie-up with Adidas and Reebok for retailing sportswear, apparel and accessories and is in discussions with Nike for the same. It has entered into a tie-up with British Biologicals, a Bangalore-based exporter of protein beverages, for retailing the latter's speciality beverages. "Most of the health and exercise equipment we retail are imported — with an eye to quality — directly from the manufacturers,'' Mr Allampallam says. "This means we can price our products very competitively - some are even 20-40 per cent lower than the competition.''

The first retail outlet, in Bangalore, will be followed by three more in Hyderabad/Secunderabad, Mumbai and Kochi/Chennai during the year, Mr Allampallam said adding, "the health store concept is bound to catch on fast and the metros would be a great place to begin such outlets. To cater to the needs of smaller towns and the rural areas, a distribution network is being set up. Our products and the retail outlets gain acceptance in the market, we will expand into offering prescription drugs as well.''

Located at Koramangala, the health store offers sports dentistry products such as mouth guards and anti-snoring devices, injury management and rehabilitation aid products, protein and food supplements, non-metal exercisers, parameter monitors such as for blood pressure, thermometer, blood glucose and pulse rate monitors, calorie meters and digital weighing scales.

According to Mr Allampallam, the store also stocks sports footwear, running shoes of leading brands, ayurvedic products and medicated oils, exercise equipment catering to fitness centres and individuals, sports equipment and non-prescription tonics and health drinks.

"We aim to stock not only a wide range of products but to enable our customers to choose the right products for their needs and use them appropriately to get the most benefit,'' Mr Allampallam said. To that end, the panel of consultants — offering free advice at fixed times — will guide the buyer through the decision-making to buy the right product, he said.

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