New drugstore's design caters to shoppers' needs

The word ”pharmacy“ in big silver letters is one of the first things you see when you walk into Lexington's newest Rite Aid store. And you can't miss the large cosmetics and body care section smack-dab in the middle of the place.

It's a ”Customer World“ store, you see — a store with a design based on what the chain's customers have said they wanted in a Rite Aid.

The store, located at 2296 Executive Drive, opened Aug. 14. It's the 15th Rite Aid in Lexington and the fourth to have the ”Customer World“ design.

Rite Aid executives met with focus groups across the country a while back to find out about their likes and dislikes when it came to a drugstore. Customers told Rite Aid that their relationship with a store's pharmacist was important. Also important was the selection of merchandise and the ease with which a store could be navigated.

Customers like a store that's ”easy to shop,“ said Rite Aid district manager Steve Cropper. ”They like openness; they don't like clutter.“

The new Lexington store has wide aisles, with merchandise placed in areas with highly visible signage. There's a waiting area with chairs and a television set just outside the pharmacy. There's also a room with a door nearby where people can have private consultations with a pharmacist or get flu shots during flu season without others looking on. Drive-through pharmacy services also are available.

”We have the latest equipment at this location,“ said Ron Gunaratne, manager of the new store. ”We match the competition's prices too,“ he said.

”Our core customer is the female shopper,“ Cropper said. Hence, the centrally located cosmetics and body care section.

The new store, which has more than 14,000 square feet of space, also has an expanded vitamin department and a picture center with one-hour photo service — yes it develops film — and up-to-date digital capabilities. Unlike some drugstores, the new Rite Aid has a home health department with a selection of wheelchairs and scooters for those who have difficulty getting around. Grocery and automotive items, toys, home decorations and alcoholic beverages also are available.

The new store has about 25 employees.

As part of its grand opening celebration, the new Rite Aid is offering several free products and services this week. Visitors to the store between noon and 4 p.m. on Aug. 23, will receive a free gift bag filled with cosmetics and samples of other beauty and hair products and will get a chance to win a $100 gift card and a beauty basket.

”We're still growing,“ Cropper said, adding that another Rite Aid is scheduled to open in Lawrenceburg in September.