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Eckerd Pharmacy

Eckerd Pharmacy
Fate Acquired by Rite-Aid
Founded 1898
Defunct 2007
Location Warwick, Rhode Island
ProductsPharmacy, Liquor, Cosmetics, Health and Beauty Aids, General Merchandise, Snacks, 1 Hour Photo

Eckerd Pharmacy was a drug store chain with more than 1,549 stores in more than 13 states across the Mid-Atlantic and New England portions of the United States. The Rite Aid chain acquired Eckerd in 2007 and converted all the Eckerd stores to Rite Aid pharmacies in the fall of 2007.



Eckerd Pharmacy was founded in September 1898 (making it the oldest of the big four American drugstore chains), by 27 year old J. Milton Eckerd in Erie, Pennsylvania. In 1912, Eckerd sold his original store to his sons and moved to Wilmington, Delaware, establishing a new store. From Delaware, the chain expanded to North Carolina and later Florida.[1] In 1961, Eckerd changed from a proprietorship to a publicly owned company. At Eckerd's height, Eckerd had over 2,800 stores in more than 20 states, including 1,600 Eckerd Express Photo one-hour photo labs in 19 states, and revenue of $13.1 billion in fiscal year 2000. Eckerd was the dominant drug chain in Florida, Texas and Pennsylvania.

J.C. Penney and Jean Coutu

In 1996, J.C. Penney and Eckerd agreed to merge. Under the agreement, all of JCPenney's Thrift Drug unit of drug stores (comprised of Thrift Drug, Kerr Drugs, Fay's Drugs, and some Rite Aid stores) were rebranded to the larger Eckerd name.

Eckerd was owned by JCPenney from 1997 to 2004, and was one of the largest drug store chains in the U.S., with over 2,800 stores stretching from New York and Connecticut to Florida and west to Arizona. One carryover from the Thrift Drug days after J.C. Penney took over was the presence of J.C. Penney Catalog Centers inside certain locations. This would continue even after J.C. Penney sold off the chain.

In July 2004, JC Penney sold all of the Eckerd stores along the Eastern Seaboard from Georgia to Connecticut to the Jean Coutu Group. The other stores, mainly in the Southeastern and Southwestern United States, were sold to CVS. The other Eckerd stores that were sold to the Jean Coutu Group were merged with Coutu's other American pharmacy chain, Brooks Pharmacy.

CVS Conversions

  CVS bought more than 1,000 Eckerd stores and converted them to CVS outlets in late 2004 and 2005, eliminating the Eckerd name from markets such as Florida and Texas, which had once been among the chain's strongholds.

Brooks Eckerd Pharmacy

Main article: Brooks Eckerd

Jean Coutu kept the remainder of the stores, mostly in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic U.S. states. Jean Coutu operated the stores it purchased under the slightly modified "Eckerd Pharmacy" name.

Eckerd was a unit of the Quebec-based Jean Coutu Group. The corporate headquarters was transferred from Florida to Rhode Island, the base of Jean Coutu's other U.S. chain, Brooks Pharmacy. The Eckerd and Brooks chains shared many of the same corporate functions. In addition, the Jean Coutu Group introduced an alternate version of the Eckerd Pharmacy logo featuring a red Eckerd Capsule in an attempt to unify the Eckerd and Brooks chains.

Acquisition by Rite Aid

  On August 23, 2006, the Wall Street Journal reported that Rite Aid would acquire 1,858 Eckerd Pharmacy and Brooks Pharmacy US stores from the Jean Coutu Group for US$3.4 billion. Rite Aid announced that the two chains would be converted to the Rite Aid name, retiring the 109-year-old Eckerd banner. The merger was signed and completed as of June 4, 2007, with all Eckerd stores converted to Rite Aid by the end of September 2007.

Also as a result of the merger, the J.C. Penney Catalog Centers were permanently closed inside locations that had them. However, J.C. Penney Credit Cards are now accepted at all Rite Aid locations, even at stores that were Rite Aid before the deal with Eckerd.

The deal has also left Rite Aid with interesting locations within close proximity to each other to the point of competing with each other. (Only a small handful of stores have closed or were sold off to Walgreens, The Medicine Shoppe, or independent owners in order to meet federal regulations.) CVS went through a similar situation in Chicagoland after its purchase of Albertson's drug store chains. As a result, there are several cases where the stores are only a few blocks from each other, or even right next door to each other. This is particularly the case in Pennsylvania where Rite Aid (due to being based in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, near the state capital of Harrisburg) and Eckerd (due to its Pennsylvania roots in Erie as well as stores that were once Thrift Drug having roots in the Pittsburgh area) were both dominant in the state.


  • You'll like what we'll do for you!
  • America's Family Drugstore
  • It's Right at Eckerd!
  • Right There With You (1998-2000)
  • Get More! (2001-2007)

See also

  • Thrift Drug

Eckerd College

The son of the founder of the drug store chain, Jack Eckerd, made a large donation to Florida Presbyterian College in St. Petersburg, Florida, in 1971, after which the College was renamed in his honor (Eckerd College).


  1. ^ Eric Ruth. "Del. fixture Eckerd acquired", Delaware News-Journal, August 25, 2006. Retrieved on 2006-08-26. 
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Eckerd_Pharmacy". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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