Rite Aid to close Ward Boulevard store

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Wilson will soon be a one-Rite Aid town as the store near the intersection of Ward Boulevard and Tarboro Street is set to close Dec. 3.

“Like many retailers, we consistently evaluate our business to ensure that operating each store makes good financial sense,” said Pete Strella, Rite Aid manager of communications. “The reason for closing this store is strictly a business decision, one that we never like to make or want to make, but one that we felt was important in supporting our overall business.”

Signs went up earlier this month notifying customers of the closure and prescription files are set to be transferred to the CVS Pharmacy at 1601 Forest Hills Road.

“The store currently employs 15 associates,” Strella said. “Severance packages are being made available to associates who do not continue their employment at either another location owned by Rite Aid or the pharmacy where prescription files are being transferred.”

Walgreens bought nearly 2,000 Rite Aid stores in a deal at the start of 2018, but of the three Rite Aids in Wilson, Walgreens purchased the locations at 2650 Ward Blvd. and 1500 Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway but retained the Rite Aid name.

Phil Caruso, a spokesman for Walgreens, said the Martin Luther King Jr. store will transition to Walgreens in 2019 with a new sign and Walgreens-branded merchandise.

Following the sale, nearly 600 of the Walgreens-owned stores were slated for closure due to overlap with existing Walgreens locations and the store at the intersection of Nash Street and Ward Boulevard shuttered in May.

Meanwhile, the location on Tarboro continued to be owned and operated by Rite Aid. The more than 11,000 square-foot building was constructed in 1999 and switched to the Rite Aid name in 2008. Strella declined to say how many customers the store has or how many prescriptions are being transferred.

There are only six remaining Rite Aids not owned by Walgreens.