Goodbye Eckerd (Rite Aid buys Eckerd and Brooks Drugs)

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APCO25
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Post by APCO25 » 08 Jan 2007 05:23

wow, I am new to this board, couldn't help but note this thread since it calls close to my "old home". I worked for Eckerd for about a year (store 410, now closed and has transformed itself into a Pet Supermarket on South Cobb Dr at King Springs Rd in Smyrna, GA just outside Atlanta) and it was during the JCP ownership.

This is where, IMO, Eckerd was bled to death by JCP. The store I was at was built when JCP had this idea to put an Eckerd on every corner. In fact, my old store was moved a whole 100 yards from it's former home in the King Springs Village Shopping center, to the corner. When the store was in the little shopping center, (anchored by a Big Star), it made money since Jack Eckerd himself opened the store in January of 1978. JCP moved it out of the center, and put it where a Del Taco used to be. The store struggled to make money, it was always understaffed. I worked as a photo tech and I can agree, one of the things Eckerd did well was Express Photo. Back in the 1980's, Jack Eckerd pumped millions into EP. Eckerd was one of the first pharmacy chains to buy the first generation Noritsu QSS-1's and make "1 Hour Photo" a booming business. Back then, Eckerd's emphasis was on quality, and used the Kodatel system to monitor chemicals and electronic densitometers to verify print and film quality. This was unusual at the time as only larger and more professional photoshops in that day had the high standards for output quality. "Ultralab 35" was heavily advertised during the 1980's and established Eckerd as a leader in photo processing. Even the local camera shops that didn't have their own labs would send customers to Ecked for film processing.

Of course, Eckerd of today is way behind the times. The few Eckerd stores in business around here that do have labs have very old equipment, most of them cannot handle high volume digital and rely on standalone kiosks with dry printing when every Walgreen's and CVS here has at least a full digital minilab. The stores themselves still have the early 1990's decor and are in bad need of updating. Every Eckerd I have been into never has enough help at the front counter, and always seems to be devoid of customers.

I have never been in a Rite-Aid, they aren't around here. But I hope they revive the chain and not kill it. At one time, they were the dominant drug store chain in Atlanta, before CVS and Walgreen's came to town, they had a stronghold on the market.

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Post by BillyGr » 09 Jan 2007 00:14

TW-Upstate NY wrote:Here's something that occurred to me when this merger was announced and I wonder what's going to happen. Gloversville, NY is a smaller city near where I live and in the late '90's both Rite-Aid and Eckerd built brand new stores right across the street from each other which still operate to this day. The Rite-Aid opened around '97 or so and was probably one of the last store designs before the current prototype and replaced a store a few blocks away located in a former colonial A+P. That location was a replacement for their then current store as well. The Eckerd was built two years later and replaced two smaller Eckerd stores in town one of which was originally a Fay's Drugs and also a Carl's Drugs which was rebranded Fay's after the merger of those two regional chains. Since all the stores are going to be re-branded Rite-Aid, I have to wonder which store will go dark. This is not the only place in my area where Rite-Aid and Eckerd are in very close proximity to each other as the same situation exists in Johnstown, the next city over. CVS operates a smaller and older store in the downtown area there and it wouldn't surprise me if they took over one of the locations. Interesting thing about that CVS too-the only one I know of that is closed on Sunday. I've got to wonder though if Walgreen's may make a play for some of these stores where a similar situation exists as they have just recently or are just about to re-enter the Albany, NY market after about a 40 year absence.
There are quite a few instances of this in and around Albany - I would guess that some will be taken over by others, though in many cases one of the stores is older and more likely to be made into something else. In some cases, they'll probably keep the Eckerd, especially where the Rite Aid is older (and lacks a Drive Thru).
I've already noted in East Greenbush that CVS had planned a new store, but the site where they were to build is now signed for sale/lease, so they may be thinking about the Eckerd building.
Walgreens is likely also, as they mentioned somewhere about 7 or 8 stores in the area as a start (so far only 2 built, with 1 or 2 more porposals).
As to the CVS closed on Suday, you mentioned it is in a more "downtown" area. Is that area not busy on Sunday? I know the Rite-Aid in downtown Albany is also closed Sunday (and open shorter hours Sat, something like 9-5) since there is not much traffic downtown on weekends.

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Post by TW-Upstate NY » 09 Jan 2007 23:42

Johnstown is the county seat so since there are much fewer people in the downtown area on the weekends maybe it doesn't pay to open on Sunday. And here's another interesting Rite-Aid vs. Eckerd factoid I now remember again occurring in Johnstown. The Eckerd is located in a very small enclosed shopping mall. It was originally built as a Fay's and was an original tennant when the mall opened in '72. In the late 80's, Price Chopper expanded and took over the space where Fay's was and they relocated by building a new store on the other end of the mall. At the time, they signed a long term lease extension for the new space. Around '98 or so, they were looking to build a new freestanding store and had gone so far as to select a site. At that point, the mall's owners stepped in and told them there was no way they'd allow Eckerd to break the lease. Long story short, Eckerd backed down and remained in its mall space where it is to this day. At that point, Rite-Aid stepped in and built a new store on the site originally intended for Eckerd which also remains to this day. My betting still is CVS ends up in the mall space and they will likely abandon being closed Sunday. Guess we'll see if I'm right not too awful long from now.

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Rite Aid takes over Eckerd

Post by dth1971 » 25 Jan 2007 19:15

Why didn't Rite Aid take over the Eckerd stores in Florida but CVS did?

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Dave
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Re: Rite Aid takes over Eckerd

Post by Dave » 26 Jan 2007 07:37

dth1971 wrote:Why didn't Rite Aid take over the Eckerd stores in Florida but CVS did?
Two different deals. When JC Penney orignially sold Eckerd a couple of years ago, part of Eckerd was sold to CVS (Florida, for example), and part to Jean Contu out of Canada. The Jean Contu stores kept the Eckerd name.

The Rite Aid acquisition of Eckerd is of the Jean Contu stores, or "New Eckerd" if you will. The CVS deal happened before the Rite Aid deal.

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Post by Dave » 26 Jan 2007 08:00

lvkewlkid wrote:Why is it that CVS is now accepting the JCPenney Card?
Per the Wikipedia article on CVS, they continue to accept the JC Penney card at the stores they bought from Eckerd as a convenience for former Eckerd cutomers.

I don't believe that they accept the JC Penney card at all of their locations, but I may be wrong.

The Eckerd down the street from me continues to accept the JC Penney card as well. It was one of the stores acquired by Jean Contu.

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Post by lvkewlkid » 26 Jan 2007 22:32

Dave wrote:
lvkewlkid wrote:Why is it that CVS is now accepting the JCPenney Card?
Per the Wikipedia article on CVS, they continue to accept the JC Penney card at the stores they bought from Eckerd as a convenience for former Eckerd cutomers.

I don't believe that they accept the JC Penney card at all of their locations, but I may be wrong.

The Eckerd down the street from me continues to accept the JC Penney card as well. It was one of the stores acquired by Jean Contu.
Well, they are accepting it in Vegas.

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Post by danielh_512 » 27 Jan 2007 00:32

As someone asked about earlier, CVS purchased Eckerds in 2004 that were in Florida and Texas primarily, as these were new markets for them.

The rest of Eckerd went to the Jean Coutu group, who owned New England's Brooks Pharmacy chain. CVS, being based in New England, could not acquire any more stores in that region and still have FTC approval. Eckerd had many stores in NY (their dividing line, I believe) from Fay's and some other operators. With CVS' purchase of Peoples, Revco, and Standard Drug, this made the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast states ones w/strong CVS presence, so these stores couldn't go to CVS.

As a whole, I thought Jean Coutu did a better job w/Eckerd than JCP. They updated the merchandise lines extensively, lowered some prices, and started remodeling stores. However, they did little in building new ones, the renovations were merely superficial into a Brooks red-blue prototype that made the stores look older than the Eckerd interiors, changed Eckerd signage from blue to red, and did the majority of those changes at newer stores that didn't need renovated at all instead of older stores that should have been renovated or replaced.

I've noticed the same thing about Eckerd and customers. They rarely have any. I will say Eckerd was my favorite of the drug store options we had, and the one I purchased the most items from (although the drug store format does little for me).

I am worried about the overlapping produced in this region. A fairly large area like Johnstown, PA has 3 Eckerds in its city limits, and 2 Rite Aids with a third right outside. There are no other chain drug stores in that area. 1 of each are Downtown across from each other (the Rite Aid is new, the Eckerd is small and old). It's very possible that city of about 30,000 will have 4-5 Rite Aids and nothing else.

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Post by dth1971 » 27 Jan 2007 09:31

Did Eckerd even expand into NYC and New England some years ago?

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Post by BillyGr » 28 Jan 2007 00:22

I know that there was one (lonely) Eckerd in Bennington, VT which closed well before the Brooks take over of Eckerd - not sure if they ever got further into New England.

There were also several Brooks years ago in the Albany (NY) area (eventually became Revco and then CVS) and were until more recently (may still be) a few Brooks in northern NY State (adirondacks and up toward the Canadian border, primarily near the VT/NY side of the state) - these both may have been an expansion at one point that never went further?

And, interestingly going back to Bennington, there was a Rite Aid that closed just last year (of course, now they'll inherit the Brooks in town).

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Post by jimbobga » 11 Feb 2007 02:45

Since this is about Eckerd history, could somebody clear this up for me?
Were there two different Eckerd chains? Eckerd Drugs in Florida and Eckerd's Drugs in North Carolina had totally different logos during the early sixties. It seems like I heard way back that the Florida stores were owned by Jack Eckerd, and his brother owned the other chain. Any information on this?

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Post by Groceteria » 16 May 2007 16:06

Hi gang.

A request, if I may. Since the Eckerd name is about to go away forever, I'm trying to assemble as many good photos of Eckerd locations as I can.

I'm NOT really interested in the current cookie-cutter standalone format (the white stucco with blue trim) that can be found everywhere in the southeast; I have plenty of pictures of those. However, if you have interesting photos of DIFFERENT prototypes, especially older stores within shopping centers or downtown areas (like the one in Georgia Edric posted upthread), I'd love to see them and add them to my Eckerd archive.

Thanks,
David

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Post by storewanderer » 26 May 2007 20:59

Although I have nothing to add on this, should it be opened up to include the New England Brooks too?
Photobucket now allows for comments on each photo! http://s196.photobucket.com/albums/aa113/StoreWest/

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Post by Groceteria » 27 May 2007 14:10

storewanderer wrote:Although I have nothing to add on this, should it be opened up to include the New England Brooks too?
I don't have any personal interest, but I'm sure someone might like to see them. Which is to say I wom't be archiving them, but if anyone has interesting shots of older Brooks stores, they can feel free to post them.

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Post by rich » 27 May 2007 18:38

jimbobga: The history of the various Eckerds has been dealt with at least once before.

There were 3 chains that I knew of: Erie, PA; Delaware; & Florida, all owned by different branches of the family. Jack was the Florida Eckerd. I can't remember if they were siblings or cousins. I believe the PA chain was the original.

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