Pharmacy benefits as chains close stores

The city lost two drugstores in the past two weeks, an Eckerd at the Johnstown Mall and the CVS Phar
Tom Friello, owner of Palmer’s Pharmacy in Johnstown, fills prescriptions at the store on Monday.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
Tom Friello, owner of Palmer’s Pharmacy in Johnstown, fills prescriptions at the store on Monday.

The city lost two drugstores in the past two weeks, an Eckerd at the Johnstown Mall and the CVS Pharmacy downtown.

Spokesmen at both chains didn’t respond to e-mails and voice-mail messages Monday regarding the closures, but Tom Friello, the pharmacist who owns and operates Palmer’s Pharmacy downtown, noted that last summer Eckerd was acquired by Rite Aid and the mall store was located across Route 30A from a free-standing Rite Aid.

As for CVS, Friello said he believes that the store didn’t have enough room.

“They don’t have the room to expand up there for the line that CVS likes to carry,” he said.

Palmer’s, which has been in business for more than 100 years, benefited from the CVS closure.

Friello said he picked up a lot of customers who don’t like the idea of driving to the CVS Pharmacy in Gloversville to fill a prescription. Also, Palmer’s delivers, Friello said.

Mayor Sarah Slingerland said downtown seems to be searching for its identity right now.

“I’m always concerned about vacant storefronts in the downtown area,” she said.

“In many areas, it’s very vibrant downtown,” she said, and added that property for sale downtown sells relatively quickly.

“I think that’s indicative of downtown Johnstown. People want to be in downtown Johnstown,” Slingerland said.

She said it’s easier to explain the Rite Aid at the mall closing.

“CVS, I don’t know why. Those decisions are made a long way from Johnstown. I know it will be missed. … But who knows, maybe something unique and better will come along,” Slingerland said.

According to the Rite Aid Web site, the chain acquired Brooks Eckerd last summer, has annual revenue of $27 billion and upwards of 5,000 stores in 31 states and Washington, D.C.

Two of those 5,000 stores are located directly across North Main Street from each other in Gloversville. The future of those stores, one of which used to be an Eckerd, was unclear on Monday.

Categories: Schenectady County

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