Meet The Team: Marti Cucinotta, Category Manager of Personal Care
A native of Warsaw, Poland, Marti Cucinotta came to America when she was 16 years old, not knowing a word of English. As she has with most obstacles she’s faced during her nearly 30 years in the drugstore business, Marti was not only up for the challenge, she thrived.
Learning English made her fluent in four languages – or as Marti likes to say in her Polish accent, “three languages and a little bit of English.” As a result, she aspired to be an international lawyer, but getting married 6 weeks after earning her political science degree put Marti on a different path, one that would eventually bring her to Rite Aid.
For 10 years, she worked in procurement at a Cleveland, Ohio-based engineering firm. Then she entered the drugstore business in 1983, working as a buyer for Revco over the next 14 years. When Revco was acquired by another drugstore company, Marti spent five years at Office Max before moving to Camp Hill, Pa., and joining the Rite Aid team in 2003.
Marti has enjoyed a distinguished career at Rite Aid – one filled with promotions, awards and sales growth in the health care and personal care categories – and she attributes a lot of that success to the team of dedicated associates she works with as well as the passion she has for the unique position of category manager.
“You have to love this job in order to be successful at it,” Marti says. “Being a category manager allows me to work with the left and right sides of my brain. I can analyze the numbers while being creative in how we build our planograms.”
She also enjoys “being able to positively impact our customers’ lives” through the items she brings to our shelves. And Marti sees plenty of consumer trends that are driving innovation in her categories, which include shaving, oral care, adult incontinence, baby care, diapers and trial size.
“For example, men are becoming more conscientious of their appearance,” she says. “It’s no longer just about jumping into the shower, shaving and leaving the house as quickly as you can.”
She sees the connection between health and beauty becoming stronger. “For instance, with oral care, there’s a real connection between having a healthy mouth and a healthy body—oral health may affect, be affected by or contribute to various diseases and conditions, including endocarditis, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Today’s consumers are focused on health and beauty from the inside as well as on the outside.”
As Marti continues to work hard to meet the personal care needs of our customers, she also enjoys tending to her garden and traveling internationally. But what she most looks forward to is traveling back to Cleveland to visit her children and grandchildren.