Last Monday, February 8th, there was a Tourism Committee meeting, and the Geneva Shore Report got ahold of a lot of great updates on tourism.
Stephanie Copsey gave an update on marketing and the coming bridal show. Website traffic and session durations are up quite a bit this season, which could be a result of the renovations happening at the Riviera. Corporate events are expected to be back in 2022, so advertisements and promos are going out to remind businesses that the Riviera will be open and ready when the facility begins in-person events again this coming season.

The Lake Geneva Winter Bridal Expo was a huge success, with over 250 attendees in person and over 1000 online attendees. This resulted in 3 booked weddings and 1000 emails from bridal parties looking for a venue.

VISIT Lake Geneva gave some updates, and at the top of the list is Winterfestand the Ice Sculpture competition, which was a huge success last year, and is expected to be even more successful this year. Despite the frigid temperatures and cold winds, attendance has been great, and the downtown has been very busy. Eleven teams came last year and carved their creations while braving the cold and all finished on time. This year VISIT posted pictures and updates online regularly so people could follow along at home and get ready for this year’s big success. The number one question or comment VISIT receives from likely visitors is about wanting to know where to get coffee or hot chocolate to enjoy viewing the sculptures. They don’t want to go far to get these items so this year a vendor mall is being set up along Wrigley Drive.

Avant and Inspired coffee shops are set up to sell their coffee and hot chocolate products in this convenient nearby area. It’s great to see VISIT keeping things local and helping local businesses earn extra income. The visitor’s center is still taking calls from visitors asking if they are able to come to view the snow and ice sculptures. With the cold temperatures expected through the end of the month, and on into December and January, there will be plenty to see and enjoy during this coming winter in Lake Geneva.

Local independent pharmacies are being forced to close.
The big-box pharmacies and pharmacy benefit managers are slowly taking over, right here on the local level in and around Lake Geneva. The Pharmacy Station, which was located in Burlington, Elkhorn, and Waterford, closed all of its doors on January 14th, with Walgreen’s acquiring its prescription files. The letter the corporation put out stated that the pharmacy stations closed due to market forces beyond its control, so the company decided not to continue going on in the business.

All locally and independently owned pharmacies are being shorted by the big box pharmacy benefit managers, through lower reimbursement rates and limited drug choices compared to the larger big-box pharmacies. These pharmacy benefit managers are employees of companies that manage prescription drug benefits on behalf of the larger health insurers, Medicare Part D drug plans, large employers, and other payors. They have a significant impact on the effect of determining how much pharmacies are paid.  Pharmacy benefit managers regularly reimburse pharmacies differently, (by paying them more) and thereby ‘cheating’ the smaller pharmacies, which is what happened at the Pharmacy Station stores.

The drugs have cost them more than what insurance companies have reimbursed them so they were losing money dispensing those drugs and medications. This has made dispensing medication extremely difficult for the smaller pharmacies. The low reimbursement rate leaves the independent pharmacies with almost no bargaining power, because of their smaller size and smaller patient population. The pharmacy benefit managers have strong relationships with the biggest pharmacies in the county, such as; Walmart, Walgreens, CVS, and others. These pharmacy benefit managers possess highbred incentives for patients who order medication through the mail, using big chain pharmacies to purchase from. When patients order through the mail they get a lower co-pay, which is something local and independent pharmacies cannot offer.


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