Rite Aid Corp. is marking its 50th anniversary by doing what it's done over the past five decades: focus on health and wellness.

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Rite Aid focuses on wellness for 50th anniversary

September 12th, 2012

CAMP HILL, Pa. – Rite Aid Corp. is marking its 50th anniversary by doing what it's done over the past five decades: focus on health and wellness.

The drug chain on Wednesday kicked off "RA50," six-month campaign to celebrate the company's 50 years of providing personal health care services, health and wellness products, and community partnership.

Headlining the initiative will be 50 "acts of wellness" that Rite Aid will host in its major market areas, starting Wednesday in Harrisburg, Pa., not far from its headquarters in Camp Hill, Pa. At the Harrisburg event, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett will recognize Rite Aid's 50 years of service to the state and the nation with a proclamation to be presented by executive deputy secretary of health Michael Wolf to Rite Aid chairman, president and chief executive officer John Standley at the state capitol.

In addition, Rite Aid has launched a special website, RA50.com, that will post details on the corporate-sponsored wellness events being held nationwide. The site, too, will highlight community outreach activities led by Rite Aid associates.

Now with over 52 million members, Rite Aid's wellness+ loyalty program was the drug store industry's first to provide health and wellness benefits.

"Rite Aid's motto is, 'With us, it's personal,' and for 50 years our associates have proudly delivered on this promise by meeting the health and wellness needs of our customers and communities," Standley said in a statement. "RA50 embodies our core values and is the perfect way for Rite Aid to thank the many communities across the nation that have helped us grow and to continue our mission of helping those we serve live healthier, happier lives."

At the RA50 launch event in Harrisburg, Rite Aid is providing a free, healthy breakfast and hosting a wellness fair for state employees at the Pennsylvania Capitol and will be providing free wellness kits to the Capitol Police. Other RA50 wellness acts in Harrisburg also are scheduled for this week.

RA50 then moves on to Baltimore; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; Scranton, Pa.; Cleveland; Detroit; Portland, Ore.; Los Angeles; Atlanta; Norfolk, Va.; and New York City over the next 10 weeks. Rite Aid said events in each market will address specific community health and wellness needs, such as diabetes, heart disease, childhood obesity and cold and flu prevention.

Organizations participating in RA50 include Children's Miracle Network Hospitals; several partners of The Rite Aid Foundation, the chain's nonprofit foundation, including Boys Hope Girls Hope, Boys & Girls Clubs and Marathon Kids; various chapters of the United Way; and local senior centers, school districts, and other public and private charitable groups.

A recent innovation by Rite Aid is the "wellness ambassador," a special customer service associate in the retailer's new "wellness store" format.

"While many of our 'acts of wellness' will include free screenings, wellness fairs and a variety of public education events, others will take communities by surprise and spread wellness messages in novel ways," Standley added. "In each community RA50 visits, we'll also be partnering with community officials and organizations to reach populations most in need and inviting local officials to join us as healthy role models for local residents."

For example, on Sept. 13 in Harrisburg, Rite Aid officials will help Harrisburg School District students get the year off to a healthy start by restocking the nurse's office at all 11 Harrisburg district schools. Kits include wellness and first aid supplies plus personal care items and healthy snacks that nurses often provide to students in need. And on Sept. 15 in Harrisburg, Rite Aid is serving as the title sponsor for the Latino American Hispanic Community Center Block Party and will bring along the Rite Aid Station, offering free health screenings, pharmacist consultations and healthy snacks. The mobile Rite Aid Handwashing Station also will be on hand to provide cold and flu prevention tips.

RA50 culminates with special 50th anniversary sales promotions for Rite Aid customers in January and February.

Rite Aid opened its first store, known as the Thrif D Discount Center, in Scranton, Pa., on Sept. 12, 1962. The 1,400-square-foot set the foundation for the company's growth into one of the nation's biggest drug store chains and a leading health and wellness destination for millions of Americans.

Rite Aid opened its first pharmacy in 1966, and the company was officially named Rite Aid Corp. in 1968. Today, Rite Aid employs over 90,000 associates and operates over 4,643 stores in 31 states and the District of Columbia.

Over the past couple of years, Rite Aid has built on its health and wellness identity with the introduction of wellness+ customer loyalty program, which the chain said is the drug store industry's first customer loyalty program to provide health and wellness benefits and now has more than 52 million members.

The retailer also has been rolling out its "wellness store" format, featuring expanded pharmacy services, a large selection of health and wellness products, and the "wellness ambassador," an iPad-toting service associate who helps customers find products and information and can refer them to a pharmacist. Rite Aid had 423 wellness stores at the end of the first quarter and plans to have 780 by the end of fiscal 2013.

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