The drug store habit

Jeff Genung


In my column in the print edition last week, I lamented the foolishness of siting a Walgreens drug store (again, purely speculation on my part) at an intersection which already had two. 


Apparently, much like Rite-Aid seemed to make a habit of tearing down historic structures to build new stores (the Green House wasn’t the only victim), it seems Walgreens has got a thing for planting stores next to the competition.


Witness this little interesting tidbit a reader sent me from the Times-Union in Albany:


Walgreens proposes store close to rival

Plan for Schenectady highlights issue of clustering pharmacies


By LAUREN STANFORTH, Staff writer 

First published: Friday, February 22, 2008


SCHENECTADY — A new Walgreens has been proposed at Brandywine Avenue and State Street, across the street from a Rite Aid and an empty Eckerd building.


Such clusters are happening across the Capital Region as drugstore chains expand, often locating next to each other.


It’s unknown whether Walgreens would be interested in, or would consider, taking the corner occupied by the empty Eckerd. A representative from the Deerfield, Ill.-based company couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday.


Many Eckerd stores were closed after the company was bought last year by Rite Aid.


“It seems like overkill to me. One drugstore is plenty right in that neighborhood,” said Catherine Greene, president of the Vale Community Organization.


Walgreens is asking for a special use permit to allow a drive-through at the location, 1101-1115 State St. The zoning board will consider the request on March 5. The vacant property is zoned for business use. However, a new zoning code expected to win approval in March might mean greater restrictions on footprint size and design for that site, said zoning officer Steve Strichman.


City Council member Barbara Blanchard said any business can locate in the city if it meets city standards and the zoning code. But she said it’s unfortunate that the proposal involves another chain drugstore.


“It’s too bad we can’t attract more unique businesses,” Blanchard said.


Controversy has swirled around other drugstore sites recently. An online petition asks Troy officials to reject a plan for a new Rite Aid on Hoosick Street. Delaware Avenue residents in Albany have sued to prevent a Walgreens from moving to a vacant lot on Holland Avenue.


The Brandywine Avenue and State Street Walgreens would be the company’s first store in Schenectady. The company has said it wants to add 550 stores, mostly in California and the Northeast, by year’s end.


Amen, Barbara!