Hundreds of Rite Aid stores are closing around the country and Erie is seeing some closures of its own.
According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, the pharmacy chain is closer to bankruptcy than ever before having to reorganize, losing up to 500 stores and Thursday night we learned two of those stores that are set to close are here in Erie.
Rite Aid employees told us the stores at the corner of East 28th and Parade Streets as well as the Rite Aid at West 17th and Liberty Streets will be closing their doors.
Some Rite Aid customers are going to have to find a new neighborhood pharmacy. Rite Aid’s alleged role in the nation’s opioid crisis is reportedly putting a major financial strain on the company, apparently leading to consolidation.
A customer who didn’t want to share her name is among the many who rely on the 28th and Parade Street Rite Aid.
“Well, I walked into the store to pick up my prescription and that’s when I found out the store was closing,” she said.
She said she knew something was up when she began seeing empty shelves and signs marking massive sales.
“Now I have to go over to West 26th Street to get my prescriptions. Also, just for the shopping that I do pretty much weekly here and it’s going to be a burden to me,” she went on to say.
One local Rite Aid customer told us that his options are very limited when it comes to where he can pick up his prescriptions and now he’ll have to find another option on foot.
That customer didn’t want to go on camera but said with winter coming, he’s worried about where he’s going to get his medication now.
“I’m 63-years-old and I don’t have a car. Now I’ll have to walk over to the next place, which would be 26th and peach, from here,” said Polly, a Rite Aid customer.
Rite Aid executives released a statement on the business closures saying:
“Like all retail businesses, we regularly review each of our locations to ensure we are meeting the needs of our customers, communities and overall business. A decision to close a store is one we take very seriously and is based on a variety of factors including business strategy, lease and rent considerations, local business conditions and viability, and store performance. We review every neighborhood to ensure our customers will have access to health services, be it at Rite Aid or a nearby pharmacy, and we work to seamlessly transfer their prescriptions so there is no disruption of services. We also strive to transfer associates to other Rite Aid locations where possible.”
The Erie Times News said the Parade Street location will be closing on October 9 and the Liberty Street location closes October 19.