June 23, 2024

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Stanley Goldstein, Who Helped Make CVS a Pharmacy Giant, Dies at 89

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Stanley P. Goldstein, who in the early 1960s helped start a retail chain named Consumer Value Stores, which, after shortening its name to CVS — because, he said, fewer letters meant cheaper signs — grew into the largest drugstore chain in the United States, died on Tuesday at his home in Providence, R.I. He was 89.

The company, which is headquartered in Rhode Island, announced his death. Family members told The Providence Journal that the cause was cancer, diagnosed about a month ago.

Mr. Goldstein was frequently described as informal and no-nonsense — much like the airy, brightly lit outlets that he, a brother and a third founder opened in 1963 to sell cut-price toothpaste, aftershave, Band-Aids and other personal care products.

When he retired as chief executive in 1998, the company had more than 4,000 stores. Today, it has more than 9,000 outlets in the United States and its territories, and its revenues are larger than those of Exxon Mobil, Microsoft and Ford.

Mr. Goldstein, who graduated from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1955, at first had little enthusiasm for retail sales, a business that he knew, from the experience of his father, Israel Goldstein, was cutthroat. Instead, he became a stockbroker.

But when Mr. Goldstein’s father died, his brother Sidney persuaded him to help take over the father’s struggling enterprise, which had begun by selling bags and other paper products to grocery stores and had branched out to offer sundry health and beauty aids, displayed near the cash registers.

The business barely broke even because big wholesalers had begun selling the same merchandise to grocery stores, undercutting the Goldsteins.

The brothers, along with Ralph Hoagland, a product of Harvard Business School who had worked for Procter & Gamble, came up with a new approach: a stand-alone store specializing in discount personal care items.

The first Consumer Value Store opened in a low-income neighborhood of Lowell, Mass., a former…

Trip Gabriel

2024-05-27 17:25:44

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