Rite-Aid to buy Bartell Drugs for $95 million

A 130-year-old staple in the Puget Sound region will be family-owned no more: Rite-Aid is buying Bartell Drugs for $95 million. 

The two companies announced the purchase in a news release, noting that the 67 Bartell Drugs locations in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties will continue to operate under the Bartell name. Rite-Aid has 69 stores in the Seattle area, the company said. 

“Looking forward to the future with Rite Aid,” said George D. Bartell, Chairman of Bartell Drugs, “we are excited about the opportunity to expand upon our mission to be the best neighborhood drug store in the Pacific Northwest. Rite Aid’s vision fits well with what we think will best serve the needs of our customers. This is a day to celebrate the 130-year success story of Bartell Drugs, while eagerly anticipating the future.” 

Bartell told The Seattle Times that the pandemic has put financial strain on the company, as foot traffic has decreased substantially at stores near office buildings. He also said it's getting harder for regional pharmacies to compete. 

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“For more than a century, Bartell’s has been an integral part of the fabric of Seattle and neighboring communities serving families with pharmacy services while promoting the health and well-being of local communities,” said Heyward Donigan, president and chief executive officer, Rite Aid. “The acquisition of Bartell’s fits perfectly ... as our companies share a commitment to total health and wellness, the importance of the pharmacist as a trusted health advisor and the critical role the neighborhood pharmacy plays."

The sale, pending regulatory approval, is expected to be finalized by the end of the year.