Majority of Buffalo, N.Y., Rite Aid stores converted to Wellness format

BUFFALO, N.Y. — New York state's second-largest city has become the first market in which a majority of Rite Aid's stores have been converted to the Wellness format, the retail pharmacy chain announced Wednesday.

Nearly 100 stores in Buffalo, N.Y., have been converted to the format. Rite Aid chairman, president and CEO John Standley, COO Ken Martindale and celebrity fitness expert Denise Austin appeared at an event at one of the stores, in the village of Williamsville, to celebrate the milestone and to launch a series of events at stores throughout the area that will take place during the summer.

"Our Buffalo 'Road to Wellness' began in 2009, when we selected it as one of four markets to pilot our Wellness+ customer loyalty program," Martindale said. "As the leading drug store chain in the greater Buffalo area, it's only fitting that we're here today celebrating another milestone in our company's history. Over the past two years, we've invested millions of dollars as we've remodeled our Rite Aid pharmacies across the region to help Buffalonians as well."

Since the 2011 introduction of the format, Rite Aid has converted more than 800 stores. The most recent version of the format debuted at its store in Lemoyne, Pa., featuring a remodeled interior and expanded product selection. Photographs of the Lemoyne store can be seen here. The Williamsville store also has an updated design, having been completed in February this year.

Later this month, stores around Buffalo will sponsor free diabetes screenings, followed by skin cancer screenings next month and events focused on seniors' wellness and heart health in July and August.

The Rite Aid Foundation, of which Martindale is president, will give grants to local charities focused on children's health and well-being. Cradle Beach, which serves 1,100 disabled and disadvantaged children in the area, will receive $25,000 to expand school-based and summer programs to children in third through fifth grades at a local elementary school, while the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Western New York will receive $10,000 to provide short- and long-term housing to families with children receiving treatment at local hospitals.