MONTEREY, Calif. — CVS Caremark Corp. has completed the conversion of nearly 500 Longs Drug Stores in California, Nevada and Arizona to the CVS banner and format.
CVS executives marked the occasion recently at an outlet in Monterey, Calif., showing off the changes consumers will see in the revamped store.
“We’ve kept the best of Longs while adding the best of CVS,” said regional manager Charlie Dub during a tour of the Monterey drug store, which measures about 18,000 square feet. That size is typical for Longs outlets, which average 18,000 square feet to 20,000 square feet — about 5,000 square feet larger than the typical CVS outlet.
That extra space has allowed CVS to open the store up visually, boost the assortment in the health and beauty categories, and still maintain some signature Longs offerings.
To improve sight lines and make the store easier to navigate, CVS lowered shelves by about 18 inches. They are now 5 feet high, making it easier for customers to see across the store. CVS has also put in its color-coded departmental signs, so that shoppers who come in the front door can quickly see where the beauty, health, pharmacy, beverage and other departments are located.
Other changes to the look of the store include the installation of carpeting throughout.
The revamped store also features a CVS Healthy Skin Care Center (a new addition to this store, and to about half of the former Longs outlets in northern California), and the beauty department has been expanded and relocated to the front of the store. CVS has also expanded the pharmacy, adding new services and installing a new dispensing system designed to free up pharmacists so that they can spend more time consulting with patients.
The photo department has also been expanded. It now has chairs so that customers can sit down at photo kiosks supplied by Eastman Kodak Co. that let them view and enhance their digital photos, and also arrange them into photo books that can be produced on-site.
As part of the company’s efforts to make sure the converted store, and others like it, reflect the best that CVS has to offer, merchandise assortments were bolstered with the addition of 4,000 new items. CVS also lowered prices on thousands of products that Longs had carried, and is aggressively promoting that fact through signs throughout the store.
“We wanted to show Longs customers that the acquisition would provide them with better value,” Dub said.
The store has retained several features familiar to Longs shoppers, including an expanded wine and spirits offering and a Hallmark card department. The general merchandise offering even includes fishing poles.
CVS started remodeling the Longs stores in May and has now converted all of the outlets on the mainland. Outlets in Hawaii will continue to operate under the Longs banner.