Letter: Abrupt closing of Walgreens hurts Bowdoin-Geneva

To the Editor: Imagine my surprise when I called the pharmacy department at the Walgreens located at 130 Bowdoin St. in Dorchester and heard the automated announcement after I had I placed my prescription refills: “This store will be closing on Nov. 5. You will be able to fill your prescriptions at the Walgreens located at 585 Washington St. in Dorchester Center or at any other Walgreens.”

Not a good day for many neighborhood folks, many of whom walk to this Walgreens for all sorts of health care needs, nor for business in the Bowdoin/Geneva commercial district.

After doing a bit of snooping on the Internet, I found out that Walgreens had announced the closing of 200 stores, 14 of them in the Boston area, back in August. No specific locations were identified.

In their announcement, which stated that the closings will cause “minimal disruption to customers and patients,” the company also said it would find jobs for the affected employees in nearby locations. Walgreens continued by saying they would not divulge the location of the stores on the closing list.

The so-called “minimal disruption to customers and patients” is completely false. In speaking with staff in the Bowdoin Street store, considerable concern was expressed for the significant number of customers who do not have vehicles and walk to pick up their prescriptions. As a matter of fact, I live a ten-minute walk away from the store and actually use the opportunity to get in some extra daily steps. Now I will be getting into my vehicle and driving to a competitor drug store to pick up my prescriptions and other health needs. You can be assured under no circumstance will it be to any of the so called “close-by Walgreens.”

As for the displaced staff at closing locations, they were notified a few weeks ago about the decisions that had been made to close the stores. Customers got the word by either calling the store/pharmacy or by reading a sandwich-board notice inside the entryway of the Bowdoin Street store.

There are many unanswered questions about this situation. Is the city administration aware of the Walgreens closures, their locations and the impact this will have on their surrounding neighborhoods? Are the elected officials aware? If these closings are in locations where there are neighborhood business district associations, including Main Streets, what are they doing about this? Has there been no proactive response on the part of anyone who might have been privy to these closures?

Of course, it is too late to do anything to stop this disgusting, corporate, and greedy decision or the devastating impact and hardship residents will endure in the Bowdoin/Geneva neighborhood. However, I have decided to take my business elsewhere and will not be visiting a Walgreens again. There are other drugstore businesses in this city both large and privately owned. Please take your valuable business elsewhere.

As for the Bowdoin/Geneva neighborhood, we are once again disrespected. It appears our local drugstore just might be a retail cannabis store two doors down from our Walgreens of sixteen years.

Davida Andelman
Chair, Greater Bowdoin/Geneva
Neighborhood Association

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