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Rite Aid debuts small-store format

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Rite Aid is going smaller — by more than half.

The pharmacy retailer has launched a small format store pilot for “pharmacy deserts” and underserved communities. The first location opened earlier this month, in Craigsville, Va., which has less than 1,000 residents. Two additional stores are planned to open in Virginia by early 2023, with one opening in December in Greenville, and the other early next year, in Scottsville.

Rite Aid’s new smaller-store format will average approximately 3,000 sq. ft., which is significantly smaller than the average 11,000-sq.-ft. to 15,000-sq.-ft. standard Rite Aid location. The smaller stores will feature a full-service pharmacy, along with an assortment of health and wellness products.

The new Rite Aid Pharmacy in Craigsville is situated in the heart of the community next to the library, post office and town hall. Until it opened, residents had to drive to neighboring communities for pharmacy services. The store has a full-time pharmacist and a full-time pharmacy technician.  Part-time pharmacy technicians will float between two area Rite Aid Pharmacy locations.

“With these new smaller format pharmacy locations, we are bringing critical pharmacy services to underserved communities,” said Andre Persaud, chief retail officer, Rite Aid. “We look forward to becoming a vital member of this community and learning from this new store model as we explore expansion to additional markets across the U.S.”

Rite Aid noted that one in 10  Americans live more than five miles from the nearest pharmacy, and studies show that connection and interaction with a pharmacist is a leading factor in medication adherence, which, in turn, has a dramatic effect on health outcomes.   Underutilization of medications drives $500 billion-plus each year in avoidable medical costs.

Per the Rural Policy Research Institute many U.S. counties that lack a pharmacy tend to be home to a higher proportion of populations considered vulnerable — including the elderly, uninsured, unemployed, and those with income below the federal poverty level.

Rite Aid employs more than 6,300 pharmacists and operates more than 2,300 retail pharmacy locations across 17 states.

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