Ownership change turns a Rite Aid into a Walgreens

  • Rite Aid on South Main Street in the Hannaford Plaza in Athol, as seen earlier this month. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo

Recorder Staff
Thursday, February 22, 2018

ATHOL — The Rite Aid pharmacy in the Hannaford Plaza on South Main Street is now owned by Walgreens, and will soon reflect that ownership change in its branding.

“When a store transfers ownership, the location becomes a Walgreens-owned Rite Aid store. The associates in the Rite Aid in Athol have become Walgreens employees and have a Walgreens pharmacy. For now, the front of the store will continue normal business operations under the Rite Aid brand,” said Phil Caruso, a Walgreens spokesman, noting the ownership change happened late last month.

Inside the store earlier this week, a line of customers could be seen waiting at the pharmacy window, below a large temporary Walgreens sign. Outside, everything looked the same. The store’s manager referred inquiries to corporate headquarters.

The business’ operation will continue as normal without interruptions. Caruso said customers can expect the same service they’ve received under Rite Aid’s ownership, and all of the store’s current employees will keep their jobs throughout the transition. Any questions about prescription coverage should be directed to the pharmacy.

The local acquisition is part of a much bigger transaction between the two corporations that was agreed upon last year. Ashley Flower, public relations manager for Rite Aid, said, in total, Walgreens purchased 1,932 stores and three distribution centers. That transition will occur in a few phases.

“First, we will transfer ownership, which will occur in waves. After the 1,932 store purchases are acquired, stores are planned to be converted to the Walgreens brand in phases over time. We anticipate the completion of the 1,932 store purchases in spring 2018. We transferred the ownership of the Rite Aid location in Athol at 1640 South Main St. on Jan. 30,” Caruso explained.

For now, the external Rite Aid store signs will remain, with a sign on the door indicating that it’s owned by Walgreens, Caruso said.

You can reach Andy Castillo

at: acastillo@recorder.com

or 413-772-0261 ext. 263

On Twitter: @AndyCCastillo