REVCO D.S., INC.

REVCO D.S., INC., one of the largest drugstore chains in the area and a pioneer in the discount drug field, was founded in 1956 by Detroit drugstore operator Bernard Shulman. Shulman, who saw an opportunity to apply high-volume, low-margin merchandising to the drug business, had a chain of 4 stores in 1957, which he named Regal D.S., Inc. The company was an instant success, with $300,000 in annual sales. By 1961 it had 20 stores in the Midwest, 3 of them in Cleveland. That year Regal acquired the 41-store chain of Cleveland's Standard Drug Co. Standard had begun in 1899 when drug salesmen Charles A. Goodman and Perin Shirley opened the Gem Pharmacy at E. 9th St. and Superior Ave. With success there, more stores were opened and the chain was incorporated as Standard Drug in 1906. By the 1940s, Standard had become Cleveland's largest drugstore chain.

Under Regal management, the Standard stores were converted into discount operations, limiting sales to drugs and health and beauty aids. In 1962 Regal became Revco D.S., Inc., and 2 years later the firm moved its headquarters from Detroit to Cleveland. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, Revco expanded, acquiring numerous drugstore chains in the Midwest, South, and Southwest. As it grew, the company also expanded its services, pioneering in the establishment of discount plans for senior citizens and small children in the 1960s. In 1974 Revco built a $4.5 million headquarters in Twinsburg. Throughout the 1970s, the company built larger stores, expanded its merchandise mix and entered the drug-manufacturing business. Revco completed a management-led buyout of dissident shareholders in Dec. 1986 for $1.45 billion, financed with high-interest junk bonds. Unable to sustain a debt of that size, Revco filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Aug. 1988. In 1992 Revco emerged from bankruptcy and in 1994 purchased the Cincinnati-based Hook-SupeRx, bringing its total number of stores to 2,100 in 14 states. In Nov. 1995 Revco was bought out by Rite-Aid Drug Stores.


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