I have many fond and lasting memories from my 20 years in the business. I will always be thankful for the important role Osco played in my personal and professional life. I joined Osco in September 1969 after being recruited in college by Dave Gillis, John Spurlock, Ron Haas and Mike Radtke.
I began working as a management trainee in Elgin, Illinois for Ernie Sawyer, the store manager, and Lou Frantzen, the District Manager. I also had the opportunity to get to know the other store managers in the market - Dick Davis, Larry Hedges and Carl Mitchell. What a great group of people to work with in my first job after college!
The twenty wonderful years that followed provided an opportunity to meet and work with many outstanding, dedicated, talented people who were always willing to teach and help me learn the business and grow professionally and personally. During those years, we experienced many changes and exciting times including some of the following events: Chicago and Country Osco merging; Osco being the first drugstore chain to post prescription drug prices; Jewel Companies buying Sav-on; and the combining of Osco, Sav-on, and Skaggs drugstores into one business.
While I have many great memories, there is one that seems like it was only yesterday. In 1988, after the three businesses had been combined into one, the goal was to develop a new marketing strategy to position the business for the future. After a comprehensive process of completing research, conducting focus groups, and analyzing competing businesses, a marketing position was finalized by our marketing people and an outside ad agency.
“Count on People Who Care” became the new positioning for Osco, describing what the business stood for: Store associates always helping customers in a caring and respectful manner
Pharmacists treating patients with compassion and concern
Osco associates working together as teammates with respect, dignity and a clear vision for the future
This message was to be communicated internally to all Osco associates and included in advertising and marketing events targeting new and existing customers to increase awareness of what Osco was all about!!
So, given how much I believed that my colleagues strived to live out this message on a daily basis, one of my fondest memories was the day the new positioning “Count on People Who Care” was first introduced. The positioning was first communicated by video “depicting a day at Osco Drug” to store managers, district managers, and office management at the store manager’s annual meeting in Chicago (Pheasant Run) in the spring of 1988.
The video was later shownthroughout the business. The video began with a captivating image of the sun rising over the Atlantic Ocean and a Boston store manager opening the door to an Osco store early in the morning. The video continued traveling west to different cities across the country and showed pictures of Osco people working in the stores greeting customers, pharmacist helping patients, distribution and transportation employees supplying stores with products, our photo processing labs and office associates working in support of the stores. The video finished the day with a store manager locking the door at a California store, as the radiant sun sets late in the day over the Pacific Ocean. After the video finished playing at the meeting, I remember the overwhelming response, with all the people standing and cheering loudly, others standing on chairs, and some with tears in their eyes. The video struck an emotional chord with everyone in attendance because it depicted what Osco people were trying to accomplish everyday in their careers.
The “Count on People Who Care” video articulated and captured the spirit Osco people always lived by. It also provided the business with a way to communicate to customers what Osco was all about. I believe the tag line was used in advertising for the following 15 years. Every time I heard the commercial play over the years, it reminded me of everyone’s reaction to the video at the 1988 store managers’ meeting. And, I remain moved today knowing the many people that made this message a reality for our company. I believe those values and relationships we hold dearest in life can stand the test of time. It was a delight to see the original video once again at Osco’s 75th Alumni Reunion dinner this past August.
I am very honored and humbled to have been part of such a fantastic business and especially thankful for the all outstanding people I had an opportunity to get to know and work with during my tenure.