The Woodstock Rite Aid in Bradley Meadows Plaza is closing its pharmacy next week.
“I can confirm the last day for pharmacy services at our Woodstock location will be Monday, July 10. Upon the close of business that day, the pharmacy records will move to the nearby CVS,” noted Rite Aid Senior Manager of Public Relations Ashley Flower in an email on Monday. “It is a seamless process and we are working closely with CVS to ensure a smooth transition for our customers. I also want to point out that we are placing all of our associates at area stores, so there isn’t job loss associated with this closure.”
Speaking on behalf of CVS, their Senior Manager of Public Relations Amy Lanctot added, ”CVS Pharmacy Store #3102 (60 Mill Hill Road) will receive the prescription files on Tuesday, July 11. Patients who currently get their prescriptions at Rite Aid will be able to pick them up at the CVS Pharmacy (across the street) beginning July 11.”
A manager at the Woodstock store, who would not give his name, said that the store itself would stay open for “about another month,” although he also asked that this publication stop delivering after this week.
“That’s all I can say,” he added, after a “floater” pharmacist forwarded the in-store call to him, confirming that he had been called in to clear up the coming days’ work load.
“They approached us to take their records first,” noted Neal Smoller of the town’s other drug store, the smaller Village Apothecary on Tinker Street. “I decided at the last minute that I didn’t want to force people to come to us; I didn’t want to impact our customers of seven years now.”
The Rite Aid in Bradley Meadows replaced an Eckerd’s Drugs that replaced Joe Forno’s Colonial Pharmacy, which moved into the plaza from Tinker Street when it was built in the late 1960s. When it opened, and for years, Forno’s only competition was Langer’s in the Hurley Ridge plaza, which ceased operating when Hurley Ridge Market expanded. In another sea change in the community Hurley Ridge Marked shifts ownership over to Hannaford’s in the coming weeks.
CVS press releases in recent weeks have stressed the cost benefits of competition on pharmaceutical drug costs, healthcare cost benefits from Medicaid, and the corporation’s community-minded successes.
Smoller spoke about how strange it felt to have been a first recall for big business, instead of the smaller entity threatened by it.
“We’ve been in the position where we’ve had to sell out to the big guys,” he said, referencing Village Apothecary’s sale of its Saugerties and Town of Ulster pharmacies. “Rarely do you see it where the big guys are leaving town.”
He recalled how unpopular CVS was when it opened, replacing Grand Union, while it’s now among the busiest, if not the busiest, businesses in town. He noted CVS’ “convenience factor,” but also added how many Rite Aid customers have been asking to move their records over to Village Apothecary since learning of Rite Aid’s impending closing.
“People tell me their friends have long recommended us but they were set in their ways, going to the same place throughout its ownership changes, sometimes for 40 or 50 years back to its time as Colonial Pharmacy,” Smoller noted. “The thing for everyone to understand now is that things will be chaotic. Records will automatically move over to CVS but it might make sense to start taking action now, getting refills on one’s prescriptions so there’s no problem.”
He said he believed that staff at both corporate pharmacies in town “didn’t know this was happening” until things were well underway.
As for those who might want to now shift towards Woodstock’s smaller alternative, his own Village Apothecary, Smoller pointed out how solid his business was, with a loyal customer base and strong retail front end supported by the town’s tourist economy. As well as the fact that what’s happened to Rite Aid could yet occur to other pharmacy behemoths.
“Healthcare, from what I can see, is going through another consolidation and merger period,” he said. “There had been a lull, but now it’s changing again.”