Rite Aid shows off innovation with Wellness store

Store in Mechanicsburg, Pa., converted from existing format

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. — The first thing one notices upon entering Rite Aid’s new Wellness concept store in Mechanicsburg, Pa., is how bright, airy and open it looks, compared with a typical retail pharmacy, thanks to a new paint job and lower shelves that left some customers with the mistaken impression that the store had new lighting.

The store, just a quick drive from Rite Aid’s headquarters near the Pennsylvania state capital of Harrisburg, was converted from an existing format, so it looks like most Rite Aid stores on the outside, but the inside is a whole different story. The store is 1-of-8 in the country, with one recently opened in Newport Beach, Calif.

“This really is going to be the model for us going forward,” Rite Aid COO Ken Martindale told Drug Store News Tuesday morning in a tour of the store, which had just received its finishing touches the previous night.

Thanks to the more open look of the store, which makes the pharmacy, including the drop-off and pick-up windows clearly visible from the front door, many of the Wellness format’s innovations are evident at first glance. For example, men’s grooming products are broken out into their own section in order to make them easier to find for male shoppers who want to be in and out.

Other new sections include a “Family Care” section targeted toward caregivers, with such products as bath seats and bedpans; a section with small weights and fitness products; and a food section with shelves for organic and gluten-free foods. An endcap in the over-the-counter section stocks homeopathic medicines.

The pharmacy is designed to have a more clinical feel, with wood flooring and a room for consultations and immunizations. There also is a Rite Aid Online Care computer that patients can use to video chat remotely with pharmacists who specialize in MTM and various disease states.

The store’s Wellness Ambassadors act as the bridges between the front end and the pharmacy, Martindale said, roaming the aisles and offering help to customers on finding the health-and-wellness products they need, and carrying iPads with access to a large database on OTC medicines, supplements and diseases.

Click here to see photos of the new store.

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