The Rexall at Trail Bay Centre in Sechelt is now officially RX Drug Mart IDA, following the Competition Bureau of Canada’s order that the store change hands for a second time.
The switchover happened last week and store manager Jen Chou said, despite a few “hiccups,” everything went well.
“On Wednesday we were supposed to close at 1 p.m. and then be open the next day at 8 a.m. for a regular day. But at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday we found out all the computers and all the IT equipment was still sitting in Richmond,” Chou said.
“So it was a chaotic couple of days. We had to close early on the Thursday at 1 p.m. so that all of the IT could be done, but once Friday came we were back up and running and everything seemed smooth.”
He said the next hurdle will be learning the new systems and developing a food sales program, as RX Drug Mart doesn’t have a pre-established framework for food sales.
Chou said the store will also have to figure out its permanent signage situation, as the old Rexall sign was much larger than what the sign bylaw allows in Sechelt.
“We’re now trying to negotiate with the council about just what the sign needs to look like and what’s less intrusive in terms of what everybody wants to see,” he said. “We’ve got a temporary banner up for now.”
While the store is now owned by RX Drug Mart, the IDA name has been added to the store’s signage as it’s implementing IDA programs, Chou said, noting the IDA banner has been confusing for some.
“IDA is actually owned by McKesson, which sold us, so that confuses some people. But RX Drug Mart has basically partnered with the IDA group from McKesson in order to provide us that infrastructure at the store level,” Chou said.
“So we’ll be supporting the IDA flyers, we have their computer systems and all of that.”
The store has started giving patrons new IDA rewards cards, which offer customers money off purchases for points redeemed. “People seem to like the rewards cards. It seems to be going very well,” Chou said.
He thanks the community for their patience and continued patronage during the store’s changeover, which resulted in new paint and signage but kept the same store layout for ease of shopping. “The community has been very fantastic in expressing their sympathy for the many changes that this particular store has had to go through,” Chou said.
“They’ve been actually extremely supportive in this and one of the main questions I’ve been getting is: ‘Is everyone staying and keeping their jobs?’ And of course the new company was fantastic with that.”
The drugstore at Trail Bay Mall was originally a Shoppers Drug Mart, but the Competition Bureau of Canada ordered it had to be divested in March 2014 because Shoppers’ parent company, Loblaw, owned too much of the market place with both Extra Foods and Shoppers in Sechelt.
Rexall took over the store in December 2014. However, in March 2016, McKesson Canada Corporation acquired the Rexall chain. After the acquisition, the competition bureau again ordered that the drugstore in Sechelt had to change hands because McKesson’s size and reach as a pharmaceutical distributor in North America would likely “result in a substantial lessening and/or prevention of competition” in Sechelt.