Walgreens and CVS Are Closing Locations, Starting Jan. 31
Stores will continue closing through March.
In the U.S. alone, over 130 million people take prescription drugs, per the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute—and for many, their lives depend on them. With this in mind, Americans also require convenient locations to pick prescriptions up. That's why we turn to big-name chains like Walgreens and CVS, as these reliable retailers have a nationwide presence. But now, options will be more limited, as both drugstore chains are closing locations, starting at the end of this month. Read on to find out where Walgreens and CVS are closing up shop.
Walgreens is shutting down a location on Jan. 31.
Those in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago will soon say goodbye to a Walgreens location in the Noel State Bank building, ABC 7 Chicago reported. The Wicker Park store is one of Walgreens' flagship locations, which are "deluxe versions" of typical stores located in "high-profile, high-traffic areas," according to REjournals.
The news was first reported back in Oct. 2022, when a Walgreens official told neighbors about the impending closure. However, Walgreens just formally confirmed the closure in a statement to ABC 7. "We have made the difficult decision to close this location. There are a number of factors that we take into consideration including dynamics of the local market and changing buying habits of customers," the statement reads.
After the Jan. 31 closing date, prescriptions will transfer to another Walgreens store, which is a half-mile south of the Wicker Park location, per ABC 7.
Another location is closing in Missouri.
On March 7, Walgreens is also shutting a store down in Houston, Missouri, the Houston Herald reported. The pharmacy chain acquired the location from USA Drug in 2012, but the building itself has served as a drugstore since 1866. According to Houston Herald, it is "Houston's oldest business."
The community staple was first opened by John Blankenship at the end of the Civil War, and the pharmacy was later operated by the Forbes family from 1933 to 2008. It's simply known as the "drug store" to locals, per the Houston Herald, even having boasted a soda fountain before Walgreens did away with it.
In a statement to Best Life, a Walgreens spokesperson said that decisions to close stores are multifaceted. "As we expand as a leader in healthcare, we are focused on best meeting the needs of patients and customers in communities we serve by creating the right network of stores in the right locations," the spokesperson said. "When faced with the difficult task of closing a particular location, several factors are taken into account, including things like the dynamics of the local market and changes in the buying habits of our patients and customers, for example."
The spokesperson confirmed that patients likely don't need to take any action, as pharmacy files are automatically transferred to the closest Walgreens. "Patients receive notice about any changes through mail and other means to provide details about continued access to their prescriptions and other services," they added.
Another Walgreens that was once independently owned is closing its pharmacy.
Historic pharmacy services are also coming to a halt in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, the Caledonian Record reported. Services are scheduled to stop on Feb. 22, doing away with the only pharmacy located in the downtown area. The spokesperson did not confirm whether the Walgreens store, in general, will remain open to shoppers.
The location was previously operated as Gauthier's Pharmacy, which had been in business since 1932. But in March 2019, after 86 years of business, owner Carol Novick sold her prescription inventory and client records to Walgreens, according to The North Star Monthly.
At the time, Novick warned that more pharmacies could be at risk of closing due to fees called Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs). "If you look at the numbers, independent pharmacies are folding up like a deck of cards and it's not because of the competition with national chains, but an unlevel playing field," she told The North Star Monthly in 2019. "The business let me down. This is the first time in 90 years that a member of my family isn't a pharmacist."
CVS is shuttering a location this winter, too.
Washington, D.C. will lose a CVS location on 4th and Massachusetts Ave, NW, as of Feb. 27. A sign posted outside the location was photographed and published on PoPville, a website that "chronicles the happenings" in Washington, D.C. neighborhoods. "First, it has been a pleasure to serve you," the sign reads. "We wanted to let you know that effective Feb. 27, 2023 this location at 400 Massachusetts Avenue NW will be closing." The notice also lists contact information and hours for three nearby CVS locations.
In a statement provided to Best Life, a CVS spokesperson called the decision to close the Washington, D.C location "difficult," but confirmed that prescriptions will be transferred to a nearby CVS, just a few blocks away at 675 K Street NW. Patients can choose another CVS if they prefer.
"Maintaining access to pharmacy services in the communities we serve is an important factor we consider when making store closure decisions," the spokesperson said, noting that there are still 50 CVS pharmacies in Washington, D.C. "Other factors include local market dynamics, population shifts, a community's store density, and ensuring there are other geographic access points to meet the needs of the community, including COVID-19 testing and vaccinations."
"Our teams will continue to provide the community with outstanding service at these locations," they added. "We also offer prescription home delivery service to eligible patients through CVS.com and the CVS Pharmacy app to provide additional convenient access to medications."
For their part, residents were surprised to see the location going out. "I have been living near 4th and Mass NW for over 5 years now and just saw that this CVS is closing its doors," a statement in the PoPville story reads. Other businesses have reportedly closed in the neighborhood recently, including restaurants like Subway and Texas de Brazil, a Brazilian chain restaurant.
CORRECTIONS: The CVS in Washington, D.C. is closing on Feb. 27. An earlier version of this post misstated the date.
The Houston Walgreens is located in Houston, Missouri. An earlier version misstated the state. We regret the errors.