Longs Drugs (CVS Hawaii)
locally focused and health-centered
Putting local residents’ needs first with a long tradition of serving the Hawaiian community
With a view to the beautiful Hawaiian Islands, Longs Drugs (CVS Hawaii) puts its residents first. With products and healthcare suggestions catered to its valued local customers, the indisputable and long-standing success the drugstores have held in Hawaii ring true. Longs Drugs CVS has a rich history of diligently providing customers with the healthcare they need with compassion, care, and advice with a personal touch that lets people know they’re in good hands.
That investment in people and their well-being extends to Longs’ employees and the communities in Hawaii through the company’s employee retention plan which encourages them to participate in training opportunities to move up within the company and even offers scholarship programs.
Their community members know and trust Long’s care for the community through its many initiatives to invest with a local focus. The pharmacy focus is on using local products, hiring locally, and through its many charitable campaigns that focus on local non-profits.
Scott Sutton, Regional Director at Longs Drugs CVS says that history has made them the premiere pharmacy in the island state.
“We have a long history dating back decades ago as really, the go-to pharmacy of choice here on the islands,” he reflects.
“We have consistently upheld the brand as far as being a healthcare organization and a healthcare pharmacy in and around our communities, where we feel we have the biggest impact. We continue to evolve and grow and fill those gaps as needed to promote patient adherence, health outcomes, and partnerships across healthcare organizations like our medical groups as well as our physicians and the families that surround and live in the communities that we thrive in,” Sutton continues.
Longs Drugs started on the mainland in 1938 and the first Longs in Hawaii opened on March 29, 1954, in Honolulu. The franchise was acquired by CVS in 2008 and although the mainland stores didn’t retain the Longs brand, the stores were so ingrained in Hawaiian minds and hearts as a local chain, CVS left Longs Hawaii intact and even focused on growing the business. There are now 68 locations across Hawaii’s four islands.
Longs Drugs is more than a pharmacy and ensures stores carry what individual communities need regarding beauty, health, groceries, and more, while also ensuring tourists from all countries can count on Longs to provide them with local favorites, but also creature comforts while they are away from home. Sutton knows it’s important to cater to both as much as possible because local community members have supported them for decades, while also servicing tourists because it is Hawaii’s largest economic driver.
“We are seen as a value retailer in Hawaii and I think people treat us a little bit differently than they do on the mainland, as a go-to for all their grocery needs, for all their healthcare needs because on the mainland you’d see it more as a convenience and more of a typical pharmacy,” Sutton explains.
“People treat us, and they come to us because of the value we provide to them, and you can see that through our marketing and our advertising departments, so we really, truly try to provide local favorites but at a very reasonable price.”
Through the COVID-19 pandemic, Hawaii suffered when tourism abruptly ended. Some of Long’s stores suffered, but many in rural communities flourished as community members flocked to Long’s for their groceries, their medications, and of course their COVID-19 immunizations. Sutton noted throughout the pandemic they’ve continued to support those needs.
“Our economy being impacted in such a way from the tourism aspect of things that was really shut off like a faucet during those times and we saw demand shift away from tourism goods and our tourism stores really struggled in a way versus our neighborhood stores really thrived and they thrived because we still had great value, still had convenience stores and we were still the go-to retailer,” Sutton notes.
Continuing that success was difficult due to global supply chain issues that the world, including Hawaii, continue to experience, but Longs’ historical and sustained commitment to local vendors and distributors helped ease them through the trying time. Sutton says it continues to cause problems.
“Our local vendors helped us in that regard. I think the supply chain continues to be a concern in a lot of ways because the products that we are relying on either from these distributors or vendors have products that they need to get from other suppliers and other vendors from the mainland. The bottlenecks continue whether that’s bottlenecks from seasonal goods from Asia or China to goods that we see on the mainland that is still a challenge for us.”
Despite challenges, the stores have managed to continue to provide for the needs of their communities with goods, Minute Clinics, and vaccinations.
Minute Clinics run throughout the state with registered practical nurses and in rural communities can be one of the easiest ways for locals to access healthcare for minor and chronic conditions.
Longs goes even further to show its commitment to communities by giving back through charitable campaigns for March of Dimes, American Heart, and local food banks, with both monetary and in-kind food and other necessity donations, as well as many others. Longs also supports local businesses, the island supply chain and economy across the Hawaii Islands.
Fran Nakoa, District Leader for Longs Drugs, says 40 percent of stores participate weekly.
“We do donations on a consistent basis, so on a weekly basis we are giving to that no- profit and that’s to individual stores. We would have specific products that we would be donating… Basically on what’s needed or what’s able to donate.”
Investing locally doesn’t stop there. Longs also supports local businesses, the island supply chain and economy across the Hawaii Islands. Longs also makes sure to invest in local employees, working with people at all levels and offering many opportunities to advance within the company. From working with high school and university students, mothers and military spouses, their dependents, and veterans to offer flexible hours and many pathways to advance their careers.
The stores offer training in multiple pathways to management and other advancement opportunities like pharmacy technician and even offer scholarships to those who wish to pursue pharmacological studies. Those students are allowed to keep their jobs and return during Christmas and summer breaks to continue to learn and keep their skills fresh.
Nakoa says that succession planning has paid off.
“I would say we have maybe about 30 percent of our colleagues that have been with us more than 10 years, and then we have a good number of colleagues that have been with us 20 plus years.”
“Our pharmacy managers, I would say more than 60 percent of them have worked with us as a technician at one time or another or have a family member or a parent that has worked at Longs and they decided to go to pharmacy school because of the impact Longs had. Our front store managers were all clerks with us at one time,” Nakoa adds.
Nakoa adds that a great deal of that advancement is because of their company culture which promotes Ohana, that family atmosphere, and it’s Hard Work Behaviors.
“We’re always wanting to progress and advance and thrive are some of the words that we use very commonly. It’s part of our language because that’s what we do here every day.”
In the near future Longs’ staff are preparing for travelers to return to pre-COVID-19 levels as well as continuing to place the most emphasis on COVID-19 immunizations, booster shots, and seasonal flu shots. They’ll also continue to focus on patient adherence to medications as well as building relationships and touch points, especially for those with chronic conditions.
Sutton says, “When you think about the COVID-19 environment we’re currently living in and those travelers that are either coming into the state or out of the state especially from our local [area] that may be traveling to the mainland over the holidays, so I think, number one is continually thinking about our boosters as well as our flu vaccinations.”
Longs Drugs will also focus on their digital communications with patients through their CVS app both in-store and online and continue to improve access to the store’s value-added options Sutton says they’re trying to keep it simple in a world where options are limitless for consumers.
The successful chain of pharmacies will also be prioritizing strengthening their supply chains to ensure they can offer all the products locals and tourists need while maintaining services.
“Customer service is the number one priority for us and making sure that we have the products for our customers. We’re able to check them out. We’re a convenient retailer for them and we keep the demand high for our tourists that will be coming to the islands as well as our local neighborhood stores and our customers that depend on us every day.”
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AT A GLANCE
What: A large chain of locally-oriented pharmacies putting the Hawaiian residents first
Where: With over 40 locations across the Hawaiian Islands
KTM Enjoy Snacks – www.enjoysnacks.com
It’s Time To Enjoy Life
It’s Time For Enjoy Snacks!
Enjoy Snacks brings the traditional taste we love and combines it with our imagination to make a perfect fit that connects generations. From the simple joys of 3D gummy pineapples that bursts with the sweetness of golden pineapples, experiences of crunchy combinations of rice crackers infused with the aroma of fresh roasted coffee, or taro cookies that just melts in your mouth, our passion is creating innovative products for today’s markets.
Enjoy brings years of working with top manufacturers and the understanding of food safety to ensure we do our part developing quality safe foods that promotes goodness and an enriched life. Partnering with CVS/Longs Drugs in providing Enjoy products to their Hawaii locations supports each consumer on their journey to a healthy experience.
All products are packed in resealable bags with nutrition statements for consumers to make the best possible decisions for portion control that fits their lifestyle and health. Our commitment is to continue our quest for quality ingredients and develop products that would provide an elevating experience in the lives of consumers.
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There is no shame in receiving food because everyone deserves a seat at the table.
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