Walgreens converting 3 more Rite Aid stores in Berkshire County

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Walgreens is currently converting the remaining Rite Aid pharmacies that it owns in Berkshire County to that company's brand, a process that is expected to continue over the next year, according to the firm.

Six of the nine Rite Aid stores in Berkshire County that Walgreens took over in late 2017 have already switched over. The remaining three, at 21 Columbia St. in Adams, 25 Park St. in Lee, and 27 Cheshire Road in Pittsfield — all of which Walgreens owns — are still undergoing the conversion process.

"This process began in June 2018 and will continue in phases over the next year," Walgreens spokeswoman Alexandra Brown said in a statement. Walgreens did not provide a specific timetable for the conversion of these three outlets, only saying they have been acquired by the company. All of the stores will be fully branded as Walgreens once the entire conversion process is completed.

The other Walgreens-owned Rite Aid stores in the Berkshires are located at 501 North St., 163 South St. and 180 Elm St. in Pittsfield; 197 Main St. in Great Barrington; 50 Lincoln St. in North Adams; and 212 Main St. in Williamstown.

Every Walgreens-owned Rite Aid store in the Berkshires already has a Walgreens pharmacy, Brown said. The fronts of each store have continued to be operated by Rite Aid since Walgreens took them over.

"Most customers will not experience any changes to their prescription price or coverage," Brown added.

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However, once the total conversion to Walgreens is complete, customers will gain more access to Walgreens' pharmacy and health care services including vaccinations, online and mobile prescription tools and 24/7 access to the company's staff and more than 9,500 nationwide pharmacies.

In September 2017, Walgreens received regulatory approvals to acquire 1,932 Rite Aid stores across the country for $4.38 billion, a compromise solution to a proposed megamerger between two of the country's leading drug store chains that fell through. First announced in 2015, the deal was reworked in 2016 then revised a year later after it came under intense scrutiny from the Federal Trade Commission, according to CNN Money.

The FTC approved the deal on the fourth try after Walgreens agreed to cut the number of stores that it planned to purchase in New York state from 446 to 272. The transaction allowed Walgreens to pass CVS as the country's largest pharmacy chain, based on the number of stores owned.

In 2018, a Walgreens spokesman told The Eagle the transition of these Rite Aid stores to Walgreens was scheduled to take place in two phases. The first step is ownership, which was scheduled to take place in "waves," a company spokesman said, and was expected to be finalized by the spring 2018. Following the acquisitions, each Rite Aid was scheduled to be phased into the Walgreens brand over time.

Due to the number of stores involved, it could take two to three years for all of the Rite Aid stores to be converted to the Walgreens brand, CNN Money reported last year.

Tony Dobrowolski can be reached at tdobrowolski@berrkshireeagle.com or 413-496-6224.


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