As Rite Aid awaits regulatory approval of a proposed acquisition by Illinois-based Walgreens Boots Alliance, the Cumberland County-based drugstore chain continues to expand its reach in Harrisburg.
Rite Aid this morning opened a new 14,000-square-foot store, about twice the size of its old store on Market Street, across the street in Strawberry Square.
The store, which was announced last summer, opened for business at 7 a.m. today, according to Brad Jones, president and CEO of Harristown Enterprises, the owner of the mixed-use complex.
“It feels like a department store with a pharmacy,” he said, citing a broad mix of products that range from small home appliance and hardware items to packaged food items.
Rite Aid’s old downtown store at 309-11 Market St. opened in 1975.
“I think they saw an opportunity,” Jones said. “The store was cramped over there. Their new concept stores are much bigger and they are eager and willing to sell more products.”
Rite Aid spokeswoman Ashley Flower said the chain is excited to open the larger location in the capital city.
“We are looking forward to welcoming both longtime and new customers to our new location,” she said. “The relocated store features our highly popular wellness store format which underscores our continued commitment to providing services, products and resources to help its customers and their families live healthy lives.”
Rite Aid plans to hold free weekly grand opening events for customers, including health screenings, beauty events and product samplings. Those events will begin June 19 and run through July 14. All events will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
More options for renters
Expanded retail offerings in the downtown is good news for the city’s growing group of renters, Jones said. Harristown and other developers have been busy adding new apartment units in downtown Harrisburg over the last few years. Many of those projects have been office-to-apartment conversions.
Harristown just started on eight new apartments on South Third Street and within Strawberry Square. Those units, a mix of one- and two-bedroom apartments, are expected to be done by September, Jones said.
A recent study sponsored by Harristown found that Harrisburg has the potential to absorb as many as 300 new market-rate apartments over the next three years. Leasing activity has been strong in the city as new projects have opened.