ELLENVILLE – The word is out: Rite Aids are starting to close throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. One in Woodstock stops its pharmacy operations next Monday, a few weeks earlier than employees had been told a month ago. All prescriptions are being moved over to a nearby CVS.
We called the Ellenville Rite Aid on Route 209 this past Wednesday.
"You'll have to call corporate about that," came the terse reply from a manager who would not relay her name. "Have you heard anything? We've heard nothing. No one speaks to us from corporate."
At first calls to Rite Aids headquarters in Pennsylvania yielded no call backs, no information. So we checked out the 55-year-old corporation's corporate pressroom online.
There we found a press release from last Thursday, June 29, that announced the company's deal with Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. "whereby WBA will acquire 2,186 stores, related distribution assets and inventory from Rite Aid for an all-cash purchase price of $5.175 billion, on a cash-free, debt-free basis. Under the terms of the agreement, Rite Aid has the option to purchase generic drugs that are sourced through an affiliate of WBA at cost, substantially equivalent to Walgreens for a period of 10 years" and the end of an earlier merger agreement with WBA. The stores included in the agreement are primarily located in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern regions of the United States, with distribution centers in Dayville, CT., Philadelphia and Spartanburg, SC.
Calls to Walgreens Boots Alliance yielded not even a press release regarding its intentions for the Rite Aids it was picking up.
So we kept trying corporate headquarters, even when some local managers said we shouldn't expect any answers.
"Healthcare, from what I can see, is going through another consolidation and merger period," said one pharmacist from the Kingston area. "There had been a lull, but now it's changing again."
Finally, we got a brief email back from Rite Aid Senior Manager of Public Relations Ashley Flower.
"There is no impact to the Ellenville location," she noted Wednesday afternoon, July 5. "It is business as usual."
At least for now.