Rx headache: San Benito Walgreens set to close

SAN BENITO — One of this city’s major pharmacies is preparing to close its doors for good Nov. 14.

In August, Walgreens announced in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that it would be closing 200 U.S. stores following a review of its “real estate footprint.”

Those store closings are now coming due.

“Walgreens has operated this store for about seven years and the decision to close it was not easy,” said Alexandra Brown, a company spokesperson. “Please be assured that the community will remain well-served by Walgreens. Prescription files will automatically transfer to our store at 1921 S. 77 Sunshine Strip, Harlingen. Customers need take no action; the transfer is automatic and our teams at those stores look forward to serving them.”

Workers at the San Benito Walgreens said they became aware of the plans to close the location a few weeks ago.

Although they declined to go on the record since they are not authorized to speak for the company, they said they would be re-assigned to other area Walgreens locations and that the disruption for them would be minimal.

The nearest Walgreens to the San Benito store is the location on 77 Sunshine Strip at the intersection of Ed Carey Drive. It is 3.8 miles from the San Benito site.

“We expect to place the majority of that store’s employees in jobs at other area stores,” Brown said. “We will continue to be the strong community supporter the community has known us to be. Pharmacy patients will receive a letter in the mail providing more information about their prescription records.”

Brown confirmed the closing of the San Benito location is part of the company’s reassessment of its real estate footprint, adding the restructuring would enable Walgreens to “become a more efficient enterprise.”

“Given that these closures will represent less than 3 percent of our stores overall, and given that we have multiple locations in many markets, we anticipate minimal disruption to customers and patients,” she said.

Walgreens, now known officially as Walgreens Boots Alliance, has over 230 stores in Texas and about 20 locations in the Rio Grande Valley, including three stores in Harlingen.

Walgreens is one of the largest drugstore chains in the U.S., with more than 8,200 stores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Walgreens sales for fiscal 2018 were $131.5 billion, up 11.3 percent over the previous year.