September 18, 2021
Some Rite Aid employees soon will call South Philly home, but only occasionally. The drugstore chain is relocating its corporate offices from Camp Hill, Cumberland County, to the Philadelphia Navy Yard, where it is creating an office space that caters to its new corporate strategy of remote work.
Rite Aid reportedly has leased about 25% of a 92,000 square-foot building at 1200 Intrepid Ave. and is developing the property at the former military base into into what it is calling its enterprise headquarters.
Rite Aid CEO Heyward Donigan said the company is trying to strike a balance between "the flexibility of remote work and the power of on-site collaboration" by designing corporate offices "specifically for in-person collaboration and company gatherings," not cubicles. The company's corporate employees have been working remotely since the early days fo the COVID-19 pandemic.
"This announcement signals the start of a bright new day at Rite Aid. We’re changing our business from the inside out, and our reimagined workplace is the latest exciting step toward the future of this company," Donigan said. "We believe in remote work, and as we lean into it for the long term, we are investing in a physical footprint that will facilitate its best version."
It's unclear how many jobs, if any, this will create in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp., which manages the Navy Yard, did not respond to requests to be interviewed for this story, and the response by a spokesperson for the drugstore chain suggests the new headquarters plan does not include a commitment to any Philadelphia-based jobs.
"We will continue to grow our corporate team, and as a remote-first workplace," Rite Aid spokesperson Bradley Ducey said. "Corporate associates can choose their primary place of remote work, whether that’s Philadelphia or another area."
Neither Rite Aid nor the City of Philadelphia had projections regarding how much tax revenue the relocation will generate. A spokesperson for Mayor Jim Kenney's office said Rite Aid employees will be subject to the city wage tax on the occasions they work at this new corporate hub.
Even with the economic benefit to the city and residents unclear, the mayor's office called the move "a clear win for Philadelphia."
"Rite Aid’s relocation to the Philadelphia Navy Yard makes it clear that our city is a great place for businesses to grow and thrive – and the Navy Yard has become an increasingly desirable hub for new and relocating businesses," Kenney said through the spokesperson. "With our unique combination of affordability, cultural amenities, and talented and diverse workforce, Philadelphia is a top choice for innovative and collaborative companies of all sizes. I want to thank Rite Aid for their investment in our great city."
Jeff Olson, Rite Aid's vice president of communications, told PennLive.com that the company will maintain a "collaboration hub" in the Camp Hill area of Cumberland County, but details are still being determined.
"There's no job loss or any layoffs," Olson said. "In fact, we're hiring. This will not impact our corporate positions."
This shift in Rite Aid's corporate office strategy is the result of an internal survey of the drugstore chain's more than 2,800 corporate associates that found corporate employees prefer working from home, but also want opportunities to collaborate in person, the company said in a news release. As a result, office spaces similar to the central Pennsylvania hub will be developed in multiple locations around the country.
"Our new headquarters and collaboration centers will have a unifying effect on our enterprise and serve as an important space for our teams to be together when needed," said Jim Peters, Rite Aid's chief operating officer. "I think it’s especially meaningful that these changes were shaped by our associates, whose input we solicited along the way – this approach aligns with one of our core values: get there together."
Founded in 1962, Rite Aid has more than 2,500 retail pharmacy locations across 17 states, including 519 in Pennsylvania.