Bartell Drugs, which opened its first store 130 years ago in Seattle and with locations in Kent and Des Moines, has been sold to Rite Aid.
“Over the past few years, it has become increasingly difficult for a mid-sized drugstore chain to operate independently,” Bartell’s Chairman George Bartell and CEO Kathi Lentzsch said in a letter Oct. 7 to customers on the company’s website. “Changes in the pharmacy world, business tax increases and the pandemic created very strong headwinds for us. We knew we needed to do something to re-shape Bartell’s future.”
Rite Aid, based in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, bought the company for $95 million, according to a press release on Rite Aid’s website.
Not much change is expected at the stores.
“First, we are thrilled that the Bartell name and heritage will remain,” according to the letter from Bartell and Lentzsch. “We expect you, as well as our 1,700 employees, to see little or no change in our 67 stores for some time to come. In fact, the change may be hardly noticeable as you will continue to benefit from having our ongoing pharmacy care and support with the same friendly teams and still enjoy our other unique products and services. In addition, Bartell Drugs will be owned by the local Bartell family until the acquisition is approved by financial and regulatory agencies. This process will take us most likely to early December and could be longer.”
Bartell Drugs is in Kent at 12946 SE Kent-Kangley Road and in Des Moines at 21615 Pacific Hwy. S., and 27055 Pacific Hwy. S.
Rite Aid officials look forward to the acquisition.
“For more than a century, Bartell’s has been an integral part of the fabric of Seattle and neighboring communities serving families with pharmacy services while promoting the health and well-being of local communities,” said Heyward Donigan, Rite Aid president and CEO. “The acquisition of Bartell’s fits perfectly into and accelerates our RxEvolution strategy, as our companies share a commitment to total health and wellness, the importance of the pharmacist as a trusted health advisor and the critical role the neighborhood pharmacy plays. Expansion within the growing Seattle area will allow Rite Aid to better serve customers, health plans and healthcare providers.”
Rite Aid has 69 Seattle-area stores, including four in Kent.