Proving that a major retail chain can also be a good neighbor
When Rite Aid, one of the country’s largest drugstore chains, launched an expansion program in the New York market, it faced opposition from community activists who opposed the growing prevalence of national chain stores and from small local pharmacies that feared large rivals. With competition from other large pharmacy chains entering the New York market, Rite Aid engaged Geto & de Milly to rapidly put in place a community and government relations program to facilitate their acquisition of store leases in targeted neighborhoods throughout the city.
We quickly developed a comprehensive community outreach strategy that included the creation of an early warning system to flag serious challenges at potential store sites. Our strategy emphasized affirmative outreach to elected officials and neighborhood groups. Geto & de Milly worked with Rite Aid to launch new community-friendly initiatives including “Mother’s Day Mammograms,” in which Rite Aid provided free breast cancer screenings. These efforts regularly generated positive media coverage and successfully established Rite Aid as a good corporate neighbor to communities throughout the New York metropolitan area.
Indeed, our firm’s success for Rite Aid in New York and its suburbs resulted in Rite Aid retaining Geto & de Milly to create a nationwide community relations/store roll-out program and manual. We coached regional managers on how to handle local zoning and planning boards as well as hostile consumers who did not want their long-time neighborhood pharmacies to face competition. Our crisis management services included coaching managers on how to respond to TV and print coverage of local store roll-out controversies and prepared senior executives for challenging media appearances including a problematic segment on 60 Minutes.