U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta (R., Pa.) joined Rite Aid chairman and chief executive officer John Standley and president and chief operating officer Ken Martindale for the grand opening event at the store, which features the drug chain’s innovative Wellness Store format.
“Today is truly a day of celebration for Rite Aid as we celebrate the grand opening of our first net new store to be built since 2010, right here in Harrisburg, just miles from our corporate headquarters,” Standley said at the event. “As we begin to build up our development pipeline through new and relocated stores, we are laying the foundation for future growth and continuing our transformation into a retail health care company, bringing our unique brand of health and wellness services to even more customers in both existing and new markets.”
Barletta commented, “For years, Rite Aid has provided critical health care services to people across Harrisburg, and through this new store, they will be able to continue do so. I thank Rite Aid for their commitment to the community and wish them continued success in the midstate and beyond.”
As in Rite Aid’s other Wellness Store locations, customers entering the new Harrisburg store see a wooden path that leads to the pharmacy department. Pharmacists in the Wellness Stores have special training in diabetes care and medication management and are certified to immunize for about a dozen diseases, including flu, pneumonia, shingles and whooping cough. Another key feature of the format is the Wellness Ambassador, a special service associate who works closely with the pharmacists to provide customers with access to information on over-the-counter medications, vitamins and supplements, and Rite Aid programs and services.
Other key design features in the Harrisburg store include overhead departmental rings designating each section of the store, such as beauty, food, home care and seasonal; a warm color palette with wood tones and soft lighting; hundreds of new health and wellness products, including organic and gluten-free foods; a specially designed GNC vitamin department, including an interactive kiosk that helps customers make informed purchasing decisions.
The store also has multiple drive-through pharmacy lanes and a consultation room adjacent to the pharmacy, where Rite Aid pharmacists can have conversations with patients, administer immunizations and offer other clinical pharmacy services.
Rite Aid now has more than 1,500 Wellness Stores since debuting the format in the spring of 2011. Company executives have said they were targeting 450 Wellness remodels by the close of the 2015 fiscal year at the end of February. As of Feb. 28,, Rite Aid had 4,570 stores overall.
Standley has previously said that as Rite Aid moves ahead with the Wellness remodels and store relocations, it will gradually approach a phase of being able to open brand-new stores.
“Behind the scenes, we’re working very hard on building the real estate pipeline,” Standley said in mid-January at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco. “As we look out 12, 24, 36 months, it leads us down the relocation opportunity as well as filling in with some net new stores.”