Walgreens to close Dayton west side location, triggering fear of pharmacy desert

DAYTON — The Walgreens on Hoover Avenue in Dayton is among the locations that will close across the nation because of corporate downsizing, a decision that is drawing attention again to concerns that low-income, Black and Latino Americans have been abandoned and left to exist in a pharmacy desert.

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“Don’t take away the things that we need, you know, this has been one of the main things that we need,” TJ Jackson, a Walgreens shopper at the Hoover Avenue store, told News Center 7′s Taylor Robertson on Thursday night.

“That’s a shame that, you know, we’re losing the things that we need here on the west side,” he said.

Walgreens corporate offices issued the following statement to News Center 7 in confirming that the Hoover Avenue location is scheduled to close April 1:

“This location’s closure is due to a decline in foot traffic leading to an unsustainable business performance,” according to the statement, communicated through Martin Maloney, a company media representative. “We are sorry for the inconvenience. We know that our customers and patients rely on our stores and trust our team members for their healthcare needs. And, when we must close a store, it affects them and their community.

“Our priority is to ensure a smooth transition for our customers and team members during this time.”

When faced with the difficult decision to close a location, Walgreens said, several factors are taken into account including the existing footprint of stores, dynamics of the local market, and changes in the buying habits of our patients and customers, among other reasons.

“We are committed to our patients in Dayton, and have provided them with options to ease the transition as this store closes so we can continue to serve their needs. All of our team members have been offered employment at other nearby Walgreens, and we will continue to operate five locations in Dayton,” the company said in its statement.

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Grant, a Dayton resident who asked that his last name not be used, said he was disappointed when he learned the reason for the decision to close the west side Walgreens.

“I know there’s a lot of older people who frequent this Walgreens and some, they can barely walk here,” Grant said.

According to this reporter’s GPS, the Walgreens nearest the Hoover Avenue location is on Salem Avenue -- more than an hour’s walk.

“I wish they would take the time to really consider what they’re doing as far as closing because it makes the area you know you have older people and they really don’t have cars or they have to travel here by RTA,” Grant said. “And now they even have to go further.”

Making the situation potentially even more dire is the January announcement by CVS, the nation’s biggest drugstore chain, that it, too, is closing dozens of the about 1,800 pharmacies it operates inside Target stores. It’s an effort, Target officials have said, to cut back on its retail footprint driven by increasing expenses in its pharmacy and insurance business that will hurt profit in the next couple of years, cbsnews.com has reported.

The pharmacies will transfer prescriptions to other CVS locations.

There has been no word yet on which Target locations will lose their CVS pharmacies. The closures started in February and are expected to end by early April, cbsnews.com reported in January.

Walgreens and CVS have joined Rite Aid in closing more than 1,500 locations over the last two years. according to cbsnews.com, Forbes and other national media organizations, and experts in those same reports have said minority communities likely will be the first to lose pharmacy access.

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