Milling through the aisles of Shoppers Drug Mart, or Pharmaprix if you’re in Quebec, is one of the givens of Canadian life.
When you need some lipstick fast, your kid is sick, or your wife sends you out for diapers, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, you head through the door beneath the Shoppers red and white sign and get what you need without giving it a thought.
Since the first store opened in 1962, Shoppers has grown to nearly 1,300 stores. The company fills some 100 million prescriptions a year. Nearly 10 million of us carry Optimum cards; one out of every three Canadian women is an Optimum member. Shoppers Drug Mart and its Associate-owners now employ more than 50,000 Canadians.
Since Shoppers Drug Mart’s head office on Consumers Road in Toronto is right next to The Epoch Times office, we thought it would only be neighbourly to help them celebrate their golden anniversary. Shoppers has planned two weeks of prizes, promotions, and limited-edition products.
Life in Canada before Shopper’s Drug Mart
In 1962, Toronto pharmacist Murray Koffler opens the first Shoppers Drug Mart and launches Life brand, the company’s original private-label line. By 1968 there are 52 stores after a merger with Plaza Drugstores.
In 1971, after acquiring Vancouver-based Cunningham Drug Stores, Shoppers becomes Canada’s largest retail drugstore chain in every sense, from numbers of outlets to sales and profitability. The first Winnipeg store opens. Pharmaprix is launched. Today Quebec has more than 170 Pharmaprix stores.
By 1982, annual sales exceed $1 billion. Bea Arthur tells us Shoppers is “everything you want in a drugstore.” Beauty and fashion options line the aisles. Some stores offer food. In 1987 the first 24-hour locations open and the first in-store Canada Post counters appear.
In 1991 the 500th store opens and HealthWATCH is born. Shoppers Home Health Care locations serve Canadians with more specific needs. In 1999, Quo, Canada’s first private-label cosmetics line, is launched.
The “Shoppers Optimum” card is introduced. The savings soothe millennial anxiety. Shoppers is listed on the TSX in 2001. The Beauty Boutiques offer expert advice and more prestigious cosmetics. In 2007, the 1,000th store opens at Don Mills Rd. and Lawrence Ave. in Toronto.
Happy 50th Birthday, Shoppers! Last year you recorded $10.5 billion in sales. Today you have nearly 1,300 stores, close to 10 million Shoppers Optimum cardholders, and 370,000 Facebook fans. Over 400 stores are open 24hrs or until midnight.
50th Anniversary Specials
During the month of September Shoppers is offering plenty of celebratory promotions:
Goodies! Sept. 8-14, when you spend $75 on cosmetics, skin care, and fragrances, you receive a box with 26 beauty and fragrance samples.
Contest! When you spend $10 or more in the store (how hard is that?) Sept. 5-23, you get a PIN to enter online to win prizes including 15 Chevrolet cars, 20 Signature Vacations, and 15 $5,000 Shoppers Drug Mart shopping sprees.
Limited edition! Quo introduces a 50th anniversary limited-edition beauty collection inspired by the ’60s that includes a beauty palette ($30) and a 10-brush set ($50). Quo by ORLY introduces six celebratory glitter nail polish shades ($10).
Points! We know the value of Shoppers Optimum Points and they are giving them away like crazy on a wide variety of stuff.
Just for fun! When you visit Shoppers online, be sure to have a look at their interactive timeline. It was the inspiration for ours. You can see the full Shoppers history, add your own Shoppers story, and upload a photo.
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