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By David Bates • Staff Writer • 

Rite Aid makes its move

Well, not everything.

Part of Jackson's logistical challenge was solved by basic math. After all, at 14,000 square feet, his new $1.5 million store at Highway 99W and Northeast Evans Street is fully 9,000 square feet smaller.

Knowing he would have to be selective, he first started cutting. For example, he reduced a 40-foot section of picture frames to just seven feet. He put the remaining inventory up for sale at clearance prices.

At mid-afternoon Wednesday, Jackson had workers start boxing up some of the less popular items in sections like automotive and hardware and getting them moved over. He had them leave over-the-counter medications like aspirin alone until the store's early closing at 6 p.m.

"The trick is to move every single item in the store, but not to miss a sale," he said. "It's a balancing act."

It took more than 30 workers — mostly managers recruited from around Rite Aid's Northern Oregon District, aided by some line employees working overtime — to haul the rest south on 99W in a rented Penske truck. The 28-footer was big enough to handle about ten pallets of product at a time.

Most members of the team, all wearing name tags, worked the main floor. About a half-dozen others handled the pharmacy. Other contingents were assigned to load the truck at the old store and unload it at the new store.

Jackson said Tuesday he figured it would take about seven or eight trips. Standing in his new, fully stocked store Thursday morning, he conceded it ended up taking more than 20 trips. He said they hauled 115 pallets of product over all told.

On the bright side, after a flurry of late-night and early-morning work fueled by pizza and coffee, they called it a wrap about 3:30 a.m. That gave them more than three hours to work in some R&R before the new store's 7 a.m. opening.

For context, Jackson noted a single 17-pallet Christmas season delivery would normally be considered huge. He said he prepared for the extravaganza by implementing a "very regimented" schedule the week of the move, adjusting his sleep hours gradually so he wouldn't crash in the middle of the overnight move.

A ribbon-cutting at the new location, at 448 N.E. Highway 99W, Thursday morning. With the shelves fully stocked, the only thing giving away the building's newly opened status was a distinctive new-store smell.

Outside, workers went about installation of a new highway-oriented sign. The front door was framed by balloons and a roll of red carpet was unfurled to the parking lot.

"It's been a long time since we've had a relocation in our district," Jackson said. "We've had a lot of remodels, but this is the first time in about seven years that we've had a relocation."

That probably means the next time it happens, a Rite-Aid manager somewhere in the U.S. will be calling him.

Hours for the store remain the same — 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Houres for the pharmacy, which features a drive-up window, also remain unchanged — 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. The phone number remains 503-472-2133.


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