Rite Aid’s purchase of Freeland drug store finalized

The national drug store chain has been in the process of purchasing the longtime and locally owned South Whidbey pharmacy for months, and the acquisition wrapped up this month when operations formally changed hands. Wasting no time, the old Linds sign came down that very afternoon and a new Rite Aid sign went up.

The national drug store chain has been in the process of purchasing the longtime and locally owned South Whidbey pharmacy for months, and the acquisition wrapped up this month when operations formally changed hands. Wasting no time, the old Linds sign came down that very afternoon and a new Rite Aid sign went up.

“It was official as of Friday (Jan. 16)” confirmed Ron Lind, a former owner of the pharmacy.

The deal was limited to the pharmacy and certain parts of the retail element of the Freeland store, including health products, cosmetics and various other retail goods. A sale price was not disclosed.

The rest of Saratoga Enterprises, which now encompasses Linds Jewelry and Linds Coupeville Pharmacy, remain under local ownership, of which Lind and his wife Pam have the controlling shares.

The Coupeville location was available for purchase, but Lind said Rite Aid passed due to its smaller size.

According to Lind, about 20 employees — 90 percent of pharmacy employees — were retained by Rite Aid. Those who were not either decided to retire or found other positions, he said.

The prescription side of the Lind business was sold largely because of economic pressures facing independent pharmacists, namely mail-order houses and pharmaceutical insurance companies. They’ve made it increasingly difficult for small and privately owned pharmacists to compete.

It was for similar reasons that the Linds pharmacy in Langley closed in 2009, Lind said.

“We’ve already experienced this to certain degree,” said Lind, referring to the Langley store’s closure.

When the Freeland pharmacy went up for sale, four massive chains responded: Walgreens, 8,200 stores; CVS, 7,600 locations; Rite Aid with 4,600 stores; and Bartell Drugs, a state chain with about 60 locations throughout the Puget Sound area.

It’s unclear why Rite Aid was selected, but Lind said that as the partnership was established he found them to be fair and cooperative.

According to its website, Rite Aid employs roughly 89,000 associates. It’s publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol RAD, and is a Fortune 500 company.

Requests to interview the store’s new manager were declined, and a call to the corporation’s communications office was not returned by press time last week.

While the deal limits Linds from selling competing products, such as cosmetics and health products, Linds retail element is reopening in the adjacent commercial space that was previously occupied only by the jewelry store.

 

More in Business

Whidbey Coffee gets new facility, wholesale manager

One of Whidbey Island’s homegrown businesses is getting a double shot of… Continue reading

Record file — Freeland entrepreneurs Jill and Steve Rosen recently purchased Whidbey Island Ice Cream. The Rosens also own Freeland eateries Rocket Taco and Freeland Freeze.
Freeland business owners scoop up Whidbey Island Ice Cream Co.

Whidbey Island Ice Cream Co. has new owners. Steve and Jill Rosen,… Continue reading

Rosalie Gale photo
                                Foamy Wader owner Alexa Allamano works on one of her nautical-themes pieces of jewelry in her Langley storefront.
Langley jewelry store takes inspiration from the sea

Lifelong Pacific Northwest resident Alexa Allamano has always been fascinated by the… Continue reading

Organic Farm School excels in new digs

The Organic Farm School survived its first year at its new Maxwelton… Continue reading

Fight off that turkey coma with variety of weekend activities

There are several events happening this weekend, sure to revive even the… Continue reading

Whidbey Seatac Shuttle, Christian’s Towing voted Best of Whidbey

Due to production errors, categories under “Services” were inadvertently omitted from the… Continue reading

Annual awards banquet draws crowd of the ‘Best’

Annual awards banquet draws crowd of the ‘Best’ Business and community leaders… Continue reading

Best of Whidbey: A career shaped by simple childhood desire

Those that want dog-training lessons and private canine tips need look no… Continue reading

Best of Whidbey: Aesthetician in business of making clients ‘feel good’

For aesthetician Melissa York, community and relationships are a big part of… Continue reading

Online rental sites reshaping Whidbey’s lodging industry

Every September, Whidbey Island Center for the Arts officials are faced with… Continue reading

Whidbey Coffee releases bottled cold brew

Whidbey Coffee unveiled its newest enterprise this week, Beachbomber Cold Brew. “It… Continue reading

Nichols launches National Geographic Quest cruise boat

Holmes Harbor accepted Nichols Brothers Boat Builders latest contribution to the maritime… Continue reading