Updated March 26 at 12:25pm

CVS’ Merlo helps
kick off The Garage


PROVIDENCE – CVS Caremark Corp. President and CEO Larry Merlo on Tuesday told an audience of about 500 business, government and organizational leaders that success begins with an innovative idea.

In his keynote address during the Economic Outlook Luncheon of The Garage at the R.I. Convention Center, Merlo recalled the Woonsocket-based company’s roots that began with the innovative idea of brothers Stanley and Sidney Goldstein and a friend, Ralph Hoagland – selling name-brand health and beauty products at a discount.They called it Consumer Value Stores.

With CVS a presence in so many American communities today, Merlo said it’s important to remember the story of how a good business idea can blossom into 7,500 stores and a company that’s risen to No. 13 on the Fortune 500 list.

“We are a pharmacy-innovation company helping people on their path to better health,” said Merlo.

The company’s strategic vision incorporates technology and quality medical professionals at local pharmacies and Minute Clinics to fuel the corporation’s good health.

Digital technology utilized by CVS is being used to encourage people with chronic illnesses like diabetes to continue to take prescribed medications and avoid complications that can occur if they discontinue their medicines, he said.

The CVS Caremark MinuteClinic is an innovation providing accessible, quality care in retail locations and one of the ways the company is expanding and adapting to the dramatically changing health care landscape, he said.

With the large numbers of people who will have health coverage under the Affordable Care Act, CVS will play a role with trusted pharmacists and expanded digital services to allow families to keep all their health information in one easily accessible place, Merlo said.

“With our pharmacy-management service, our 650 Minute Clinics with nurse practitioners providing services like health screenings and vaccinations, we’ve created one unique, integrated model with differentiated products and services,” Merlo said.

CVS Caremark is committed to local workforce development and job growth and collaboration with local colleges and technical schools and to strengthening the Rhode Island economy, he said.

The Garage is the new format for Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce business events threaded together by three-minute success stories and “aha” moments. It also features dozens of business leaders of new and established companies talking about their challenges and successes in short-form stories and panels.

The event includes the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition Finale and a reception for networking.


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