News

Walgreens to shutter downtown Palo Alto store next month

Prescription files will automatically transfer to company's Midtown location

The Walgreens store in downtown Palo Alto will permanently close in June as part of a nationwide strategy to cut costs, the company announced.

The store at 300 University Ave. reopened in 2010, following a July 2007 arson that forced the prior building to get demolished.

According to company spokeswoman Alexandra Brown, the downtown pharmacy's last day of business will be June 9. Prescription files will automatically transfer to the Walgreens at 2605 Middlefield Road, in the Midtown neighborhood, Brown said in a statement.

Pharmacy patients will receive a letter providing more information about the prescription records, Brown said. The company also plans to transfer most of the employees at the University Avenue store to other area stores.

"Please be assured that the community will remain well served by Walgreens," Brown said in a statement.

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The closure will leave a gaping vacancy in a prominent downtown corner of University and Bryant avenues at a time when many other retailers are struggling to stay afloat in the midst of an economic shutdown. But unlike other downtown retailers, Walgreens had planned to shutter the University store well before the pandemic.

Brown said the store's upcoming closure is part of the cost management program that the company announced last year, which seeks to "accelerate the ongoing transformation of our business, enable investments in key areas and to become a more efficient enterprise." As part of the effort, Walgreens is closing 200 stores throughout the nation.

Brown noted that the closures represent less than 3% of the company's stores and "given that we have multiple locations in many markets, we anticipate minimal disruption to customers and patients."

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Walgreens to shutter downtown Palo Alto store next month

Prescription files will automatically transfer to company's Midtown location

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Thu, May 14, 2020, 9:28 am

The Walgreens store in downtown Palo Alto will permanently close in June as part of a nationwide strategy to cut costs, the company announced.

The store at 300 University Ave. reopened in 2010, following a July 2007 arson that forced the prior building to get demolished.

According to company spokeswoman Alexandra Brown, the downtown pharmacy's last day of business will be June 9. Prescription files will automatically transfer to the Walgreens at 2605 Middlefield Road, in the Midtown neighborhood, Brown said in a statement.

Pharmacy patients will receive a letter providing more information about the prescription records, Brown said. The company also plans to transfer most of the employees at the University Avenue store to other area stores.

"Please be assured that the community will remain well served by Walgreens," Brown said in a statement.

The closure will leave a gaping vacancy in a prominent downtown corner of University and Bryant avenues at a time when many other retailers are struggling to stay afloat in the midst of an economic shutdown. But unlike other downtown retailers, Walgreens had planned to shutter the University store well before the pandemic.

Brown said the store's upcoming closure is part of the cost management program that the company announced last year, which seeks to "accelerate the ongoing transformation of our business, enable investments in key areas and to become a more efficient enterprise." As part of the effort, Walgreens is closing 200 stores throughout the nation.

Brown noted that the closures represent less than 3% of the company's stores and "given that we have multiple locations in many markets, we anticipate minimal disruption to customers and patients."

Comments

TimR
Downtown North
on May 14, 2020 at 9:48 am
TimR, Downtown North
on May 14, 2020 at 9:48 am
4 people like this

Walgreens also has a "Community Pharmacy" on Alma near the old North Face store. I don't know what the deal with that is (I use CVS), but it looks like a more convenient alternative than the Middlefield location for getting prescriptions.


A Major Loss
University South
on May 14, 2020 at 9:57 am
A Major Loss, University South
on May 14, 2020 at 9:57 am
12 people like this

I frequent Walgreens for lunch (a bag of potato chips & a Snickers) and will miss the ease of accessibility it provides.


Liveability
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 14, 2020 at 10:17 am
Liveability, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 14, 2020 at 10:17 am
46 people like this

Another nail in the coffin of liveability in Palo Alto for residents and a victory for the office-park-takeover majority on the city council. It's expensive to be there with all the office denizens as it is, and worse when they aren't clogging the roads to get there. In the meantime, residents don't go to downtown from many parts of town anymore because of it, so they haven't got the regular base of customers. The only business we frequent down there anymore is the hardware store and only because it's right off of Alma.


Joe
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 14, 2020 at 10:19 am
Joe, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 14, 2020 at 10:19 am
9 people like this

Businesses like Walgreens make decisions like closing stores based on financial calculations. Would be interesting to know what exactly is driving the decision to close this store.

It would not be hard to believe that as the number of offices increases that pharmacies traditionally catering to residential communities find themselves seeing less businesses. Or is it the disruptive power of the Internet allowing people to purchase the kinds of products online that they might have historically purchased from businesses like Walgreens?

Unfortunately, this kind of information rarely seems to be made available to the public.


chris
University South
on May 14, 2020 at 10:30 am
chris, University South
on May 14, 2020 at 10:30 am
7 people like this

The Walgreens on Alma is a specialty pharmacy not a regular pharmacy.

The store on Middlefield is larger than the one on University so it is better stocked.

Also, Walgreens took over the pharmacy at PAMF so that is actually the closest Walgreens but it is pharmacy only.

We have long wondered how long CVS will keep stores at Town and Country, downtown, Middlefield, and at Target by IKEA. Given how poorly stocked the stores are, I would guess they have too many stores in this area.

Insurance companies are driving prescriptions to online and delivery with cheaper copays and 90 day refills, so physical footprint is less economic.


chris
University South
on May 14, 2020 at 10:33 am
chris, University South
on May 14, 2020 at 10:33 am
4 people like this

A Major Loss,

CVS also sells unhealthy food. Not a laughing matter.


rsmithjr
Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 14, 2020 at 11:04 am
rsmithjr, Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 14, 2020 at 11:04 am
9 people like this

This has very little to do with either the PA real estate market or the coronavirus. It seems mostly like the general trend to rethink how retail works.


renter
Downtown North
on May 14, 2020 at 11:06 am
renter, Downtown North
on May 14, 2020 at 11:06 am
41 people like this

Exorbitant rents downtown make most retail businesses unprofitable. With the US retail economy tanking right now, landlords need to wise up and slash their rents to sustainable levels.


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 14, 2020 at 12:06 pm
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 14, 2020 at 12:06 pm
29 people like this

We should expect this to be the first of many.

We cannot be naive enough to think that all businesses will return when SCC reopens the county. We cannot expect all businesses to be able to survive with the guidelines. It would be nice if they can, but realistically some are going to fail and the longer it takes to reopen the more likely there will be more.

Even Macys and Nordstroms are not safe. Walgreens and I don't know how many others will find it impossible to operate.

Shuttered store fronts will be the norm, on University, on Cal Ave, in Town & Country, and in Stanford SC.


Grew Up Here
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 14, 2020 at 1:14 pm
Grew Up Here, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 14, 2020 at 1:14 pm
8 people like this

Back to the past when I moved to town in 1975 when there was basically nothing downtown but a few health food stores. We had no homeless or robberies though.

@Resident: Macy’s has been in financial trouble for years; I don’t even buy there unless I can buy on sale because there is always a sale. What scares me is that Nordstrom (FYI no “s” on the end of the name) is now closing 16 stores and putting in-season clothes on sale. Five years ago, they had no sales. Perhaps they will whittle down to only a couple of stores, like Saks.


Cindy
Downtown North
on May 14, 2020 at 1:46 pm
Cindy, Downtown North
on May 14, 2020 at 1:46 pm
17 people like this

Sadly, it will become more office space for the tech sector. Our downtown is slowing going away.


chris
University South
on May 14, 2020 at 2:32 pm
chris, University South
on May 14, 2020 at 2:32 pm
3 people like this

Cindy,

Retail is not allowed in University Ave storefronts.


chris
University South
on May 14, 2020 at 2:34 pm
chris, University South
on May 14, 2020 at 2:34 pm
Like this comment

What is the current status of the budget proposals for Cubberley Community Center?

I heard DuBois list off a number of organizations located in the section of Cubberley that the city is proposing to drop from the liHo


Market Diversity
Downtown North
on May 14, 2020 at 3:26 pm
Market Diversity, Downtown North
on May 14, 2020 at 3:26 pm
15 people like this

Something needs to be done to preserve the diversity of Mom and Pop businesses and larger retail in downtown Palo Alto. Countries like Venezuela are suffering right now because their economy was based solely on imports and exporting only oil. If your economy is based on a single product and it tanks, then your country is in turmoil. This goes the same for downtown Palo Alto. It survived recessions in the past because there were a diversity of retail shops, offices, services, and restaurants.


Former Palo Altan
another community
on May 14, 2020 at 3:41 pm
Former Palo Altan, another community
on May 14, 2020 at 3:41 pm
2 people like this

I believe this is part of a companywide strategy by Walgreens. A Walgreens on El Camino in Sunnyvale is also closing in June. Note that for some of you, transferring your prescriptions to the Walgreens on Santa Cruz in Menlo Park may be more convenient.

I personally almost never shopped at the downtown Walgreens because parking in that area is so difficult (important for me because I have mobility issues).


stores
Downtown North
on May 14, 2020 at 4:41 pm
stores, Downtown North
on May 14, 2020 at 4:41 pm
2 people like this

Please do not set up the economy for failure. Amazon, Instacart, and Grubhub workers will go on strike because of poor pay, lack of ppe, and bad work conditions. Where will everyone get food and essentials when this happens? This means that workers can ask for unreasonably high wages. Who wants to work in a factory under Covid-19 conditions? Reducing competition will ultimately cause a reversal in consumer practices. Consumers may actually go back to regular stores instead. Consumers do not want unreliability when it comes to toilet paper, medication, or food.


got all the story?
Barron Park
on May 14, 2020 at 5:56 pm
got all the story?, Barron Park
on May 14, 2020 at 5:56 pm
44 people like this

I'm sure part of the reason they closed was they were tired of the street people coming and taking items from their shelves knowing there was no repercussions from law enforcement. Downtown PA and California in general has become anti-business, pro- "victims" and criminals.


1drin
Charleston Meadows
on May 14, 2020 at 6:01 pm
1drin, Charleston Meadows
on May 14, 2020 at 6:01 pm
9 people like this

As far as I'm concerned... good riddance!!
I took my business elsewhere when I learned that Walgreens allows its pharmacy clerks to impose their puritanical beliefs and deny service to women asking for the morning-after pill. It's outrageous that righteous clerks who are supposed to serve the public can refuse to do so because their sensibilities are offended.
Granted, it's only one store, not the chain. And Walgreens, for now, is all over the map. Still...


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Adobe-Meadow
on May 14, 2020 at 7:02 pm
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
on May 14, 2020 at 7:02 pm
6 people like this

Talking about people coming in and taking things - the KMART in RWC is now closed - mostly because that property is in a upgrade plan - but they also had to have a security person at the door because all kinds of people were stealing stuff.
The Walgreens on Middlefield in midtown is always busy. There is also a Walgreen's on El Camino near Charleston. So I think they have the city covered.


Ugh.
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 14, 2020 at 9:19 pm
Ugh., Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 14, 2020 at 9:19 pm
20 people like this

I hate, hate, hate shopping online. Big tech sucks.


WorthSaving
Old Palo Alto
on May 14, 2020 at 11:44 pm
WorthSaving, Old Palo Alto
on May 14, 2020 at 11:44 pm
12 people like this

Please quickly deem this a historical building. The art deco double front doors are amazing with all its chrome and thick glass. Maybe it was a Woolworths diner and 5 and dime. Please do not demolish this fine downtown gem. Put something useful in it like a grocery store — something residents could really incorporate into helping local commerce downtown.


Jade
East Palo Alto
on May 15, 2020 at 12:02 am
Jade, East Palo Alto
on May 15, 2020 at 12:02 am
4 people like this

Capitalism at it's best, can you imagine this happening at Stanford Shopping Center.


Grew Up Here
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 15, 2020 at 1:32 am
Grew Up Here, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 15, 2020 at 1:32 am
20 people like this

@got all the story?: Yes, I disliked all the homeless loiterers around Walgreens’s too. Don’t blame law enforcement for the slaps on the wrists, blame the laws and the far lefters. The laws prevent police from doing much more than paperwork for theft, it’s catch/release at its best. Surely, it frustrates them too!


Carolyn
Downtown North
on May 15, 2020 at 8:08 am
Carolyn, Downtown North
on May 15, 2020 at 8:08 am
Like this comment

This what happens when you don't build high-density residential near your retail centers. It will cascade. As Palo Alto's retail goes, so does the budget and city services. Without a built-in, super-local (walking distance) clientele, this patterns will continue. It will be worse for Cal Ave where the density is even lower than at University. Those office workers are not coming back in the numbers needed to support business centers. We need high-density residential on those underutilized parking lots in the two downtowns.

Covid 19 is a huge wake up call for job rich cities that thought we were being so smart not building high-density housing. We need 3000+ units NOW if we are to save city services and maintain our vibrant downtowns.

Come on Council. Do it! Housing and fast!


Another Giveaway
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 15, 2020 at 9:04 am
Another Giveaway, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 15, 2020 at 9:04 am
21 people like this

Density is not the answer to every question. The naive belief that density IS the answer to every question has left our current mayor unprepared to deal with the current crisis.


A Major Loss
University South
on May 15, 2020 at 9:12 am
A Major Loss, University South
on May 15, 2020 at 9:12 am
8 people like this

> "I hate, hate, hate shopping online. Big tech sucks."

^^ I concur but with the current stay-at-home + restricted outside shopping mandates, online purchasing/home delivery has skyrocketed.

Jeff Bezos (Amazon Prime) is fast on his way to becoming the world's first trillionaire...meanwhile he is failing miserably to provide adequate COVID-19 safety measures for his countless employees.

^^^ Capitalism & greed at its worst.


Not a Big Deal
Midtown
on May 15, 2020 at 10:31 am
Not a Big Deal, Midtown
on May 15, 2020 at 10:31 am
1 person likes this

@WorthSaving, remember, this building was erected in 2010, not historically significant.

Please remember, like others have said, Walgreens is shuttering 300+ locations nationwide. We have how many Walgreens in the area? 3 others in Palo Alto for pharmaceutical needs?

This is a giant corporation, not a mom and pop shop to be worried about...


midtown2
Midtown
on May 15, 2020 at 1:23 pm
midtown2, Midtown
on May 15, 2020 at 1:23 pm
18 people like this

High density? Many people are grateful not to have been in high density buildings/neighborhoods during this time.


Rudy
College Terrace
on May 16, 2020 at 1:24 pm
Rudy, College Terrace
on May 16, 2020 at 1:24 pm
6 people like this

Hopefully this will convert into a mixed market type space similar to the Ferry Building in SF or like the old PA Liddicoat's. Hope in one hand...


Online Name
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 16, 2020 at 1:32 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 16, 2020 at 1:32 pm
6 people like this

Rudy, that would be a great idea. But given our city council's love of office buildings, luxury hotels and pricey high-rises, it's unfortunately unlikely.


Great pharmacist
East Palo Alto
on May 17, 2020 at 3:05 pm
Great pharmacist, East Palo Alto
on May 17, 2020 at 3:05 pm
1 person likes this

Downtown Walgreens had a great pharmacist who knew what she was doing and even gave me a vaccination. I’ll miss them. I was forced to switch to CVS because of insurance. I’m not very happy with them. They are much less organized and often don’t have my medications in stock.


musical
Palo Verde
on May 17, 2020 at 11:07 pm
musical, Palo Verde
on May 17, 2020 at 11:07 pm
Like this comment

Didn't Walgreens have a Theranos office in the back corner?


A Major Loss
University South
on May 18, 2020 at 10:14 am
A Major Loss, University South
on May 18, 2020 at 10:14 am
2 people like this

>> "I took my business elsewhere when I learned that Walgreens allows its pharmacy clerks to impose their puritanical beliefs and deny service to women asking for the morning-after pill. It's outrageous that righteous clerks who are supposed to serve the public can refuse to do so because their sensibilities are offended."

^^^ I was unaware of such a practice. One would expect this brand of 'customer service' in a bible belt state but in California...let alone a supposedly 'educated' town such as Palo Alto?

I take back my words...losing the downtown Walgreens is NO MAJOR LOSS as I can purchase my bag of Cheetos & Snickers elsewhere.

Perhaps my poor choice of lunchtime goodies is why I never got hassled or preached upon as these food items are considered nutritional supplements by the undereducated at some various 'red zone' venues.




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