Retail News Breaks Archives
Rite Aid founder Alex Grass dies
August 28th, 2009
Alex Grass, founder of Rite Aid
CAMP HILL, Pa. – Alex Grass, who founded Rite Aid Corp. nearly 50 years ago, died late Thursday night at age 82 after a lengthy battle with lung cancer, according to published reports.
Grass stepped down as chairman and chief executive officer of Rite Aid in 1995. He launched the retailer in the early 1960s as a single health and beauty aids store and, after more than 30 years at the company, grew it into one of the nation's leading drug store operations.
Rite Aid is the third-largest U.S. drug chain, with total sales of $26.3 billion and 4,825 stores across 31 states and the District of Columbia.
In 1996, Grass received the Chain Drug Review Lifetime Achievement Award for building Rite Aid into an industry leader and for his contributions to chain drug retailing. He also was named CDR Retailer of the Year in 1992.
Educated as a lawyer, Grass entered retailing in the late 1950s when he was invited to join his father-in-law's food distribution business in central Pennsylvania. He devised the retail format that was to become Rite Aid by seeing a need for a store that sold H&BA products at competitive prices.
Grass opened such a store, under the Thrif D Discount Center banner, in Scranton, Pa., in 1962. Several years later, after expansion, the retailer added a pharmacy to one of its stores and was renamed Rite Aid. The company went public in 1968.