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Rite Aid rolling out revamped store format: ‘Apple Genius Bar’ approach to pharmacy

Rite Aid, which operates eight drug stores in the Boise and Meridian area, is rolling out a new store format.

The retailer filed permits with the City of Boise and the City of Meridian to upgrade some of its store locations, including:

  • Eagle Rd. near Victory Rd. in Meridian
  • 16th St. at State St. in Boise
  • Boise Ave. at Apple St. in Boise
  • State St. near Glenwood in Boise
  • Fairview Ave. near Five Mile in Boise

Rite Aid said last fall it would pilot a new “store of the future” concept in select markets around the country. The stores include new branding and signage, a revamped layout, and updated finishes.

The store at Boise Ave. and Apple St., for instance, includes a rearranged layout with a more prominent pharmacy, larger beauty products area, and less-dense merchandising. Pops of oranges, pinks, and purple delineate different departments against a base color palette of white, slate and natural wood tones.

[Work to start on another new Albertsons store]

“Customers will soon take notice as the look and feel of our stores is being refreshed, our merchandising mix evolves to an assortment that best supports whole health, and perhaps most importantly, our trusted neighborhood pharmacists are empowered and qualified to consult not simply on traditional medicines, but alternative remedies as well,’ Rite Aid COO Jim Peters said in a news release last fall. “We’re redefining an industry, and aspire to get each one of our customers to thrive.”

Building permit records show Rite Aid spent more than $500,000 on each remodel.

A ‘genius bar’ for drugs

The pharmacy now stands more prominently inside a Boise Rite Aid store. Photo: Don Day/BoiseDev

The company told Fierce Healthcare that the more prominent pharmacy layout was part of a strategy to create a “Apple Genius Bar”-type approach and elevate the role of the pharmacist.

“It will be a completely different experience than any other retail pharmacy in the market,” Peters told Fierce Healthcare.

Displays in the Boise store included one touting “honey and hemp,” and other non-traditional treatment and beauty options.

The moves come after Rite Aid sold off a large number of its stores to competitor Walgreens, dramatically shrinking its store footprint.

Pennsylvania-based Rite Aid nearly became part of Boise-based Albertsons when the two companies announced a merger in 2018. The deal fell apart amidst shareholder concerns. Albertsons later went public in 2020.

Rite Aid competes for pharmacy customers in the Boise area with other large chains like Walgreens, CVS, Walmart, Kroger Co. unit Fred Meyer and Albertsons.

Don Day - BoiseDev editor
Don is the founder and publisher of BoiseDev. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow. Contact him at [email protected].

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