Neighbors express frustration over Portland Ave. Rite Aid closure

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. The Rite Aid on Portland Avenue is set to close on May 10. That’s less than a week away.

The company said the decision comes after reviewing a “variety of factors,” like business conditions and store performance.

Driving by, you’ll notice the store has been through a lot. The front doors are boarded up with plywood, and neighbors told News10NBC many shelves are often bare.

“It’s sad because we have to go farther out now,” said one neighborhood family. “And this is our favorite Rite Aid. We have to go to Family Dollar now.”

“I’m shocked, but not surprised,” said shopper Sherman Dickerson. “I guess they could not outlast the shoplifting. If you take a tour of the store, all the shelves are empty. The shoplifters come in, they know they can’t be touched. The poor store can’t survive.”

It’s a staple for the neighborhood, according to Rochester Mayor Malik Evans.

“We know from the foot traffic that happens there that we don’t think it’s a wise decision,” said Evans about the closure. “There is lots and lots of traffic.”

Evans said it’s especially disappointing news because the city has been working with pharmacies to help them stay open and thrive.

“We have tried to be proactive with these stores to do what we can to get them to try to stay in our community,” said Evans.

City records show multiple larcenies at the store in March. Rochester Police told News10NBC someone tried to break in overnight in early March, smashing the glass in the doors.

Rochester City Councilman Jose Peo said the closure represents a larger problem.

“Unless we address the issues on these streets and hold people accountable for the actions they are doing, stealing from this place, walking in with suitcases, walking out with tons of product, then we’re going to continue to see disinvestment,” he said.

As for the suspect who tried to break in a month ago? RPD said he has been issued appearance tickets but has failed to appear in court. He currently has an active warrant for the break-in and four other unrelated crimes.

Eriketa Cost: “So how can we meet the needs of the community? If it’s poverty, whatever it may be?”

Jose Peo: “So the thing is, I grew up in poverty, but it was never OK to steal. Just because I was poordoesn’t mean I turn to taking from others. People have to understand there is right and wrong, and when you do wrong, there needs to be repercussions for your actions.”

There is a Family Dollar nearby the Rite Aid on Portland Ave. Many neighbors said they’ll be going there. The nearest options for pharmacies appear to be the Rite Aid on North Clinton Avenue or Walgreens on Culver Road. Those would be about a 6 or 7-minute drive for this neighborhood. For walkers, these would be over 25 minutes.

President of North Clinton Avenue Business Association Albert Algarin said he’s concerned the Rite Aid on North Clinton may close. He said he’s been hearing word from Rite Aid officials that it may, but the company has not confirmed any of that.

News10NBC reached out to Rite Aid to see if crime was a factor in the Portland Ave closure but has not heard back.

The full Rite Aid statement is below:

“Like all retail businesses, we regularly review each of our locations to ensure we are meeting the needs of our customers, communities and overall business. A decision to close a store is one we take very seriously and is based on a variety of factors including business strategy, lease and rent considerations, local business conditions and viability, and store performance. We review every neighborhood to ensure our customers will have access to health services, be it at Rite Aid or a nearby pharmacy, and we work to seamlessly transfer their prescriptions so there is no disruption of services. We also strive to transfer associates to other Rite Aid locations where possible.”