Rite Aid has taken its "wellness store" concept to the next level.

Rite Aid, wellness store, Genuine Well-Being, Ken Martindale, John Standley, Robert Thompson, Wellness Ambassador, pharmacy, wellness empowerment, Lemoyne, drug store, drug chain, Russell Redman

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Rite Aid unveils next-gen 'wellness' format

October 4th, 2012

LEMOYNE, Pa. – Rite Aid has taken its "wellness store" concept to the next level.

The drug store chain on Thursday unveiled the next generation of its wellness format — dubbed "Genuine Well-Being" internally — in a grand opening event at a Rite Aid store in Lemoyne, Pa. Chairman, president and chief executive officer John Standley, chief operating officer Ken Martindale, executive vice president of pharmacy Robert Thompson and other top Rite Aid executives also were at the event to inaugurate the new store concept.

"We did a lot of research, engaged an outside design firm and really redid the whole look and feel of the store," Martindale said during a tour of the Lemoyne store on Thursday. "It has a lot of the same elements [as the original wellness format] and there are some new elements. But one of the biggest is the change in the decor and feel of the store."

The exterior of the Lemoyne store features wood-grain paneling to create a warm, welcoming feeling as customers approach the store. The store's offerings — such as a 24-hour pharmacy, drive-through services and GNC department — are listed right on the front wood paneling so customers know immediately what’s inside.

The pharmacy department features a more open, inviting presentation.

Martindale noted that the interior of the wellness store has undergone a major transformation and features a softer, more comfortable look with a more inviting layout that clearly identifies the different store departments for customers.

The new, contemporary decor and signage include ceiling ring signs designate each section of the store —  such as beauty, food, home care, wellness and seasonal — as well as lighting fixtures and brand headers across the beauty department, which now sports almost a department store-like look. Overall, the store features a relaxing, warm color palette with serene wood tones and placid lighting.

A highlighted pathway leads from the front door straight to the pharmacy, which has a bolder presentation and signage that make it stand out immediately to customers as they enter the store. Martindale pointed out that the pharmacy area also has been cleared of all adjacent merchandise to create a more open, welcoming environment.

Neighboring the pharmacy is the GNC department and a new smoking cessation end cap, which he said represent key health areas where Rite Aid pharmacists can provide counsel to customers.

The new Nail Bar headlines an enhanced beauty department.

Other new features in the store include the following:

• A vision and eye care center anchored by an interactive kiosk that allows customers to order prescription glasses and contact lenses online for home delivery and provides eyeglass frames to try on.
• A diabetic diagnostic center, designed to provide a one-stop shop for diabetics and their caregivers by offering everything needed to manage diabetes, including blood test meters and testing strips that customers can examine firsthand.
• An expanded men’s grooming area with a new Axe display featuring an iPad that allows customers to sample a new look.
• A nail bar, located just inside the store entrance, that showcases top brands and the latest polish colors.
• An enhanced hair care aisle with hands-on displays that enable shoppers to pick up and examine hair accessories before purchase.
• A grab-and-go food cooler at the front of store for quick pick up of such consumables as milk, eggs and yogurt, among other items.

And like the original wellness format, the Lemoyne store features "wellness ambassadors" — who work closely with Rite Aid pharmacists and are trained to provide customers with information on over-the-counter medications, vitamins and supplements — along with expanded clinical pharmacy services (in such areas as diabetes care, immunizations and medication therapy management) and a consultation room that enables patients to speak privately with the pharmacist about their medication regimen or to get an immunization.

According to Martindale, the next-gen concept builds on the original format's goal of "wellness empowerment" while providing a more pleasing and convenient shopping experience that serves customers' changing needs.

"We think that out of all the stores we've done, the flow and functionality for a customer in this particular store is the best we've done," he said. "One of our main objectives going in was to highlight the pharmacy and build the store around wellness. But one of the other objectives was to make it even easier to shop and for customers to quickly find their way around the store."

Rite Aid so far hasn't set concrete plans for how many stores to convert to the next-gen wellness concept, but the rollout of the new format will be part of the drug chain's current wellness store strategy, Martindale said. The retailer currently has about 570 wellness stores and aims to have nearly 800 by the end of its fiscal year in February 2013.

"The needs of our customers are always changing. Today's customers want to be empowered as they make choices for themselves and their families. And as a partner on their health care team, we at Rite Aid must adapt and change, too, in order to ensure we're providing the best service and support to help them reach their wellness goals," Standley said in a presentation at the grand opening event. "This new store design, centered on health and wellness, further demonstrates our commitment and truly sets us apart, making us the destination for the heath and wellness needs of our customers and our communities."