2007 Departures: Eckerd Pharmacy ends with Rite-Aid buyout


In June 2007, a 109-year-old retail legacy came to an end. Rite-Aid Corporation completed its acquisition of Eckerd Pharmacy by purchasing Jean Coutu USA for $2.3 billion in cash plus $1 billion worth of stock.

The acquisition gave Rite-Aid more than 1,500 additional pharmacies in 18 states, and management believed the purchase would help it obtain economies of scale to become a stronger force in the marketplace. Rite-Aid trails Walgreen's and CVS in the race to be the country's largest drugstore, however.

The sale did away with a household name as management removed the Eckerd signage in the fall.

Eckerd Pharmacy opened in 1898 in Erie, Pennsylvania, founded by J. Milton Eckerd with $600 in savings and a small loan from a former employer. In 1912, that store was sold to his sons, and J. Milton moved to Delaware and opened a new store there. The chain expanded next to North Carolina and Florida, and went public in 1961.