Published September 28, 2009
The Chia Obama is making a comeback on drug store shelves, more than five months after Walgreens yanked it over concerns that it might offend customers.
CVS stores began stocking the special edition Chia in select markets this week, according to the company that produces it -- just in time for the holiday season.
"This is what we wanted to do all along," said Michael Hirsch, vice president at Joseph Enterprises. "We're pretty excited."
The Chia Obama is a bust of the 44th president with sprouting grass-like "hair" in the tradition of the classic Chia Pet.
The product appears to be back on track after the dust-up with Walgreens in April, when the company dropped it over concerns that it could be subject to "misinterpretation."
The company did not explicitly say it was concerned the product could be seen as racially insensitive. But Chia Pet creator Joseph Pedott at the time dismissed any such accusations. He said he was "shocked" to learn Walgreens was pulling his merchandise and that he was only trying to produce a piece of "Americana."
Hirsch said the product is part of a line that includes Chia versions of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and the Statue of Liberty, and will undergo a test run at CVS stores in Chicago, Tampa and San Francisco.
If the product does well, it will be available nationally ahead of the holiday season. Hirsch said the company has a half-million Chia Obamas on hand to sell.
"There's plenty to distribute," Hirsch said.