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Weeks and Leo coverage in Business Record

Des Moines Business Record - Central Iowa's Weekly Business Journal | Century-old lotion manufacturer gets makeover

Century-old lotion manufacturer gets makeover
Saturday, October 20, 2007

By Sarah Bzdega
Staff Writer
Business Record

Sanjay Srivistava immigrated from India, earned an M.B.A. at the University of Michigan and joined Weeks & Leo as executive vice president. Photo by Sarah Bzdega
Weeks & Leo displays the historic packaging of some of its leading products. Photo by Sarah Bzdega

When Sanjay Srivastava became executive vice president of Weeks & Leo Co. Inc. two years ago, he could not believe that the Chamberlain Golden Touch brand, which has been on the market for 100 years, was still the company's top seller.

"It's really amazing what people say about Golden Touch lotion," he said. "I have never seen in my life a product loyalty like Golden Touch. People have used it generations after generations and they in fact swear by the products."

Now Srivastava wants to build on that success by looking toward new opportunities to expand the stagnant company.

"Today we are at a crossroad in which we have to move on from our historical past," he said, "using that going forward, but coming up with new technology and new products and new business strategies to expand."

Weeks & Leo has a deeply rooted history in Des Moines. Golden Touch descends from Iowa's first drug company, Chamberlain Medicine Co., started by Lowell Chamberlain in 1872, and the company, Weeks & Leo, can trace its ancestry to Carl Weeks, who commissioned the construction of the Salisbury House in the 1920s. The business was family-run until 2000, when the Peters family, then the owners, sold the company to one of its main suppliers, Achyut Sahasra of Vita-Pure Inc., a New Jersey vitamin company.

Today it generates about $2.3 million in annual revenues, and Srivastava plans to reach $5 million to $6 million in the next three to five years.

In two months, Weeks & Leo will introduce a line of anti-aging face cream, lotions and other similar products, which it has been researching and developing for the past year. Not only will these new products add to the Golden Touch line, but Srivastava also plans to ramp up marketing efforts to sell the Golden Touch products it already manufactures - including vitamin E cream, collagen cream and lotions - to more grocery stores, pharmacies and other retailers.

Srivastava also sees an opportunity to expand another area of its core business: printing private labels for independent pharmacies. Even as the number of smaller pharmacies is dwindling in the wake of big chains, Srivastava believes Weeks & Leo can get business from more than the 1,000 pharmacies it already counts as customers.

"We are one of the most unique companies in this country who does private labeling of store-brand products for smaller pharmacies," he said. "Many players do it for CVS or Walgreens, but we do it for independent mom-and-pop shops."

Srivastava also sees a chance to work with larger cosmetic suppliers to manufacture their products and print their labels.

"Our goal is to establish ourselves as a very, very serious and high-quality supplier and manufacturer of cosmetics," he said.

Srivastava believes the 40,000-square-foot Weeks & Leo facility located off 100th Street near Douglas Avenue, which the company built in 1963, has the capacity to handle an influx of new business. The company is investing in a new 150-gallon homogenizer and is in the process of transferring the old printing machines and other equipment it has stored at the building to museums to make more room.

The company employs 15 people at the plant, with two people dedicated to research and development, and 10 sales representatives around the country. Srivastava expects to increase the sales staff to get into new markets.

Srivastava, who came to the United States from India in 1997, joined Weeks & Leo after graduating with a master's degree in business administration from the University of Michigan and has striven to make sweeping changes to the company, whose sales have declined over the past decade.

A lot of his efforts are to reverse actions taken in the 1990s. After the Food and Drug Administration imposed more product testing requirements and labeling regulations on over-the-counter medicines, the Peters family decided to outsource manufacturing of those products. Sales began to decline and sales representatives left the company. After the owners sold the company, they remained in command for another five years while the business remained stagnant.

Entering a family-owned business with a long history was challenging, Srivastava said, and required "breaking certain traditions and habits, which can impede your growth." But the new owner has given him the freedom to develop new business strategies.

Though companies are outsourcing more manufacturing overseas, Srivastava believes cosmetic manufacturing will remain strong in the United States. "The import of liquid is not very cost effective because of the shipping cost, so it always makes sense to make it here and ship it here," he said. Weeks & Leo also receives most of its supplies, including chemicals and packaging materials, from local companies.

A bigger challenge may be the greater regulations the FDA could place on the cosmetics industry in the future. Srivastava sees Weeks & Leo as having an advantage as an FDA-certified company, but believes it may have to deal with stricter guidelines on research and product labeling in the future.

"Consumers are looking for one silver bullet in a product," Srivastava said, "and there are a lot of companies trying to give that.

"We've done a lot of changes and we are in the path of growth."

For a complete Weeks & Leo Co. Inc. history, visit

NCPA 109th Annual Convention and Trade Exposition, Anaheim, California on Oct 13-17, 2007

1. Visit us at Booth 743 at the NCPA Annual Convention and Trade Exposition in Anaheim, California, October 13 - 17, 2007.
2. Order online at Call or send an E-mail to get your user id and password.
3. See all of our deals, product information and more online.

FlexPro - Joint Support Liquid - Cherry Flavor

1500 mg / 1200 mg / 500 mg


Counter Displayer Sale

1. Ultra Saline Nasal Mist............25 bottles
2. Double Str DM Exp 4 oz.........20 bottles
3. Glucos/Chond 400/500...........16 bottles


More floor display sales on the website

Buy 33 - Get 3 FREE!

New Item Deal

Buy 6 or more of a new item get 3 of another new item free!

There is no limit on the number of new items. Purchase of every new item will carry this deal.


1. Free items must be equal to or lesser than the value of the purchased items
2. All products (purchased and free) must be new items

Weeks and Leo in the news

Weeks and Leo featured in

Winter / Spring '07 Sale Promotions

PO Box 3570 Des Moines IA 50323 ~ 877-974-7167 ~ Fax 515-276-6613 ~
Volume 1, Issue 1 ~ DEALS & NEWS ~ February 2007

(while supplies last)
Item# Description Extra
Pain & Sleep 25%
275 Acetamin 500 mg Cap 100’s 25%
300A Ibuprofen Brown Caps 50’s 50%
302A Ibuprofen Brown Caps 100’s 50%
506F Vitamin B12 500 mcg 20%
545 Vit E 400 DL 20%
563 Soy Isoflavones 20%
565A Antioxidant 20%
610 Nutri-Vimin 20%
649 Acidophilus w/ pectin 20%
660 O-Cal-D 500 mg 100‘s 25%
665 O-Cal-D 500 mg 250’s 25%
670 Calcium 600 mg 100’s 20%
672 Calcium 600 mg 250’s 20%
697 Glucosamine 500 mg/
Chondroitin 400 mg
691E CoQ10 100 mg 20%
Increase your sales with
these BONUS Pill items
New product “Claritin-D” available in Feb ‘07
“Pharmacist Recommended” tag on all your private label products – coming soon
Counter Display for boxed items such as Ranitidine, Loratadine etc., starting mid-Feb

Order online at

On your first order online ~ get 6 bottles of Chamberlain Lotion FREE. Call or email to get your user id and password.

See all deals and product information online
Floor Display Sale
(All products will be shipped with Floor
Display and Sale Signs)
22% OFF – if all 3 category Floor Displays are ordered (15 items, 15 dozens)
18% OFF – if any 2 category Floor Displays are ordered (10 items, 10 dozen)
15% OFF – if any 1 category Floor Display is ordered (5 items, 5 dozen)

You are allowed to replace one item in each category with your choice of item

Retail adjustment required.
Category 1 (Multivitamins)
1. Compvites 130’s (Item#600)
2. Compvite Silver 125’s (Item#603)
3. Therapeutic Multivit 130’s (Item#590)

Daily Vitamin 100’s (Item#620)

5. Nutri-Vimin 90’s (Item#610)
Category 2 (Pain & Sleep)
1. Ibuprofen 200 mg Tabs 100’s (Item#290)
2. Acetamin 500 mg Tabs 100’s (Item#265)
3. Pain & Sleep 60’s (Item#163)

Sleeping Caps 25’s (Item#165)

5. Sleeping Caps 50’s (Item#170)
Category 3 (Cough & Cold)
1. Sinutrol PE 50’s (Item#015B)
2. Congest-Eze PE 50’s (Item #064A)
3. Guiafen 400 mg 50’s (Item#202A)

Guiafen 400 mg/DM 20 mg 50’s (Item#202)

5. Double Strength DM 4 oz (Item#152B)
Increase your sales with
Contact your Sales rep OR
Visit : OR
Call : 1-877-974-7167

Winter Sale 2006

Winter Sale 2006
11-22-2006 to 12-31-2006



We have extended the floor display sale until the end of the year. Please check our website for the floor display sale information. We will still allow replacement of one product in each floor display.

- We have also extended the BOGO sale of Vitamin C Chewable until the end of the year.
Buy 22 bottles and get 2 bottle free (8.33% OFF Sale – Code: S1)
- Ultra DM Free & Clear (#147B)
- Expectorant CF Cough (148A)
- Expectorant Cough (149)
- Expectorant DM Cough (151)
- Dbl Str Exp DM Cough – both sizes (152A & 152B)
- Guaifenesin 400 mg (#202A)
- Guaifenesin 400mg + DM 20mg (#202)
- All Vitamin C items (#520, 522, 525, 530, 535, 535R, 536, 540, 542)
- All Calcium items (#660, 665, 668, 668B, 670, 672, 675, 677, 677B)
Buy 21 bottles and get 3 bottles free (12.5% OFF Sale – Code:S2)
- Golden Touch Lotion – all sizes (#7000, 7005, 7010)
- Hand Cream – all sizes (#700, 705, 710)
- Ultra Derm Body Cream – all sizes (#875, 880)

Extra Free Sale

Extra Free Sale (while supplies last)
Full List of Items with Extra Free Sale Updated (10/06/2006)
Item# Description Original Size New Size Extra Sale Start Sale End
163 Pain & Sleep 60 75 25% 01/08/2006
275 Acetaminophen 100 135 35% 29/09/2006 .
300A Ibuprofen Brown Caps 50 75 50% 15/08/2006 .
302A Ibuprofen Brown Caps 100 150 50% 15/08/2006 .
506F Vitamin B12 500 mcg 100 120 20% 21/08/2006 .
563 Soy Isoflavones 30 36 20% 01/10/2006 .
565A Antioxidant 100 120 20% 29/09/2006 .
600 Compvite 130 146 12% 04/09/2006 .
602 Compvite 250 280 12% 24/08/2006 .
603 Compvite Silver 125 140 12% 24/08/2006 .
603C Compvite Silver 250 280 12% 24/08/2006 .
693F Fish Oil 100 120 20% 09/08/2006 .
691E CoQ10 100mg 30 36 20% 01/10/2006 .

Weeks & Leo -Fall 2006 Sale (valid September 1st to October 31st)

20% OFF for both Vitamin and OTC Floor Displays (10 items, 10 dozens)

15% OFF for just one Floor Display (5 items, 5 dozen)

10% OFF for 2 or more items without displayer (2 dozen each minimum)

Retail adjustment required. Sales signs will be provided as shown above.

Weeks & Leo - Fall 2006 BOGO Sale (Expires October 31st)

Independant Pharmacy Las Vegas 2006

Weeks & Leo at the Independant Pharmacy Las Vegas 2006 from Oct 8-10

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