November 08, 2019
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Closure of Bangor’s last Rite Aid is latest sign of Walgreens acquisition

Gabor Degre | BDN
Gabor Degre | BDN
The Rite Aid Pharmacy at the corner of Union and Third streets in Bangor.

After nearly 2,000 Rite Aid pharmacies were sold to Walgreens a year-and-a-half ago, the $4.38 billion deal will soon leave Walgreens as the only major drugstore chain in the Bangor region.

The last Rite Aid in Bangor — at the intersection of Union and Third streets — will close June 25, according to a sign outside the store. All its pharmacy records are going to be transferred 1 mile away to the Walgreens at 566 Union St.

That follows the closure of two other Rite Aids on Wilson Street in Brewer and Broadway in Bangor, both of which were located near Walgreens locations that remain open. A fourth Walgreens is on Oak Street in Bangor.

What’s more, the Rite Aid on Western Avenue in Hampden will remain open but will be converted to a Walgreens on Aug. 9, according to an employee of the store.

But Walgreens still has some competition from other drugstores in the Bangor region, including those in supermarkets and Northern Light Pharmacy, which until recently was called Miller Drug. There is also a CVS Pharmacy inside the Target store off Hogan Road in Bangor.

A Walgreens spokeswoman confirmed the company is closing the Rite Aid on Union Street and said that all of its closures are meant to “ensure we have the right stores in the right locations to create a more focused network of stores that can deliver the greatest value for our customers.”

[Miller Drug to become Northern Light Pharmacy]

She also said the company is “committed to taking care of our team members throughout this process, and expect to have positions at other locations for the majority of store employees who are impacted. We will be making every effort to find the same or similar positions for team members.”

Numerous other Rite Aids in Van Buren, Ellsworth and Lewiston have either closed, been announced for closure or converted to Walgreens in the past year, according to media reports.

Nationwide, Walgreens has closed or made plans to close about 750 stores — most of them Rite Aids — since it acquired the Rite Aid locations around the start of 2018, according to Forbes.

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The closures were expected to start in spring of 2018 and continue through late 2019, the Associated Press reported at the time of the acquisition. A spokesman told the AP that most of the closures would be within a mile of another store in the Walgreens network.

Walgreens’ parent company originally hoped to acquire all Rite Aid stores, but regulators did not allow that deal to go forward. Walgreens owns more than 9,400 retail pharmacy locations, according to corporate filings.

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