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Go Long(s)!

Makakilo resident Harold Morse oversees Hawai‘i’s favorite pharmacy and new Kapolei distribution center.

Serving the community is one mission that LONGS DRUGS and CVS take seriously, and those in the Kapolei community can look forward to a favorable pharmacy and shopping experience closer to home—a hop, skip and a jump to H-1.

“The most important factor in choosing locations is having the most convenient locations to serve our communities,” explains general manager of Hawai‘i operations Harold Morse. “The old office was outdated and more space was needed to keep up with our growth plans and house efficient work space for our team.”

Thankfully, the new Kapolei distribution center site supported enough land to house not just the center, but all the offices and conference rooms too.

As general manager, Morse is responsible for the retail operations of Longs stores in Hawai‘i, as well as partnering with other businesses in CVS Caremark’s organization that serves the Hawai‘i market such as Care-mark PBM, Minute Clinic retail medical clinics and the company’s Specialty Pharmacy.

The Kapolei site employs approximately 65 people, including within the pharmacy and Minute Clinic, which provides health care to the community.

“The career opportunities in Kapolei and throughout Hawai‘i are many and we are always looking for the best of the best,” Morse adds.

From a big-picture perspective, Morse’s responsibilities include people selection and development, pharmacy operations, store layout, real estate selection, execution of company programs, such as Extra Care, training programs, human resources, advertising, pricing, merchandising and executing the company’s strategy for long-term growth.

“I have a fantastic team that manages each of these departments, which makes my job much easier,” he muses. “They are a dedicated collaborative group that thinks strategically and tries new things to test their ideas.”

Morse has been with the company for a decade (since 2004), where he started as a district manager with CVS/pharmacy with the Eckerd acquisition in Florida on the state’s west coast.

And what was his first task? Helping to convert and remodel all of the Eckerd Drugs locations to the CVS format including liquidating product, fixture layouts, merchandising and more.

“Soon after, I was promoted to regional manager of the Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Key West market and was transferred to Hawai‘i as general manager two and a half years ago,” he says. “I remember receiving the call from my supervisor asking me if I would like to be considered as a candidate to run the Hawai‘i Region.

“I really didn’t see that coming, so I called my wife Kathy and left her a message, ‘Hey, do you want to move to Hawai‘i, I need to know by 5 p.m.’ She left me the message back, ‘Sure, when do we leave?’”

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While the journey was exciting for Morse and his wife, he recalls the hardest part: leaving his two beagles, Pebbles and Frodo, on the mainland for 120 days for the quarantine period.

The Longs/CVS family has treated him well in Hawai‘i. One memorable moment sticks out for the Makakilo resident. (Morse and Kathy decided to lease the home in the area to be closer to the office.)

“The one that comes to mind first was the grand opening of our Mililani Mauka store,” he explains. “This was my first experience with a Hawaiian blessing. The kahu walked the entire store blessing every corner and then each employee. It was fantastic.”

A line wrapped around the building to enter the new location and take advantage of special offers, something Morse says never happens on the mainland during a grand opening.

He spends his days off with his wife working in the garden and landscaping, and credits Hawai‘i’s amazing climate for allowing them to plant a variety of different plants.

He’s loving Hawai‘i and loving his job, and he looks forward to what Longs and CVS have in store for the community. (He also looks forward to playing golf on every course in Hawai‘i and start up his passion for fishing once again.)

One item on Morse’s agenda is ending tobacco sales in all Longs Drugs’ stores by Oct. 1.

“CVS Caremark is reinventing pharmacy to help people on their path to better health,” he says. “We are contributing to this in our Longs Drugs’ stores by providing the most accessible and personalized experience.

“Longs is also part of the decision by our company to end the sale of all tobacco products … in support of the health and well-being of our patients and our customers.”

For 60 years, Longs has been serving Hawai‘i’s communities, and the company recently celebrated the opening of its 54th store location on the islands (on King Street in Honolulu).

“We continue to look for opportunities to grow our presence in Hawai‘i to ensure that customers have the most convenient access to high-quality pharmacy services, superior customer service, and great value,” Morse adds.