UPDATE: Two state lawmakers send letter to Walgreens CEO after Thurston Road pharmacy closes

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UPDATE: New York State Senator Jeremy Cooney and Assemblymember Demond Meeks sent a letter to the CEO of Walgreens requesting that the company reconsider its decision to close its pharmacy on Thurston Road.  

The letter argues that closing the Walgreens create a pharmacy desert in the 19th Ward and cost the neighborhood jobs.

Senator Cooney said: “While I understand Walgreens’ intention in making their business decision, the strong negative impacts on a historically underserved neighborhood cannot be ignored. I am proud to join Assemblymember Meeks and local officials to do everything in our power to ensure the residents of the 19th Ward continue to have access to their necessary and sometimes life-saving medications.”

Assemblymember Meeks said: “The Walgreens located in the city of Rochester’s southwest neighborhood is a major pharmacy and retail store for the members of our community. Closing this store will hinder residents from meeting their most essential health needs. State Senator Jeremy Cooney and I along with other elected officials and community members are working to keep this pharmacy open.” 

Read the full letter here:

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Rochester’s 19th Ward is losing a vital business in the community.

Walgreens, located on Thurston Road, will shut its doors for good Nov. 7. News10NBC talked to people who depend on this Walgreens, not only for their pharmacy needs but for groceries as well.

Many people in this neighborhood are upset because they feel that they’ve been loyal customers for a long time.

“This Walgreens means the world to this area, 19th Ward,” said Evangela Stanley, owner of People’s Choice Kitchen Restaurant. “It’s going to be sad. It’s going to be a huge void.”

She is not happy. Soon, instead of looking at the Walgreens directly across the street, she’ll be looking at a vacant storefront.

“I shop there,” said Stanley. “There are people who go there for their medicine, flu shots. Kids I see constantly run over, and not to mention I’ve also met some great truck drivers that bring supplies over there that smell my grill and get to meet some new and great customers.”

Thursday morning News10NBC stood outside Walgreens entrance to hear from more customers, like Laquinta Williams, who lives within walking distance of the store.

“It’s going to be hard because I have to change my prescriptions over to a different store, and all this stuff,” said Williams. “So I’m kind of disappointed in it.”

Walgreens is more than just a pharmacy for Tyrone Roundtree, who buys his groceries here every day for one reason alone.

“I live right around the corner here,” said Williams. “I can walk across the street and back across the street. Other than that I got to walk three or four blocks.”

The 19th Ward has only a couple of pharmacies for its residents. One of them is located a mile and a half away on Jefferson Avenue.

“It’s sad that they’re closing down because it’s going to be very inconvenient for a lot of patients,” said Warrens Pharmacy Owner Mohammed Chhipa. He anticipates he will serve those who shopped at Walgreens after it closes.

“I’m close by and the oldest pharmacy around here,” said Chhipa. “I’ve been here almost 37-38 years right now.”

Rochester Mayor Malik Evans released this statement today, saying in part, “This decision is bad for our community, bad for Walgreens customers, and completely contrary to the company’s expressed desire to promote diversity, equity and inclusion. I continue to communicate with senior leaders at Walgreens and have asked that the store at 670 Thurston Road be retained.”

For two days now News10NBC reached out to Walgreen’s Corporate Office for a comment. So far we haven’t heard back from it.

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In just 2 weeks this vital business in the community will be nothing more than a vacant storefront.

For years, people have not only shopped here for their pharmaceutical needs but their groceries as well. One of those shoppers is Rochester City Council member Lashay Harris, who represents the neighborhood. She wants the city to talk to neighbors about what they want to see here and then bring in a new business immediately.

“If people want to help you know tell them to email me, email in support of what they have as ideas. I’ll make sure I’ll get it out there and push it through,” Harris said.