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Rite Aid shutdown hurts Catskill’s retail community

August 13, 2018 07:31 pm

Rite Aid’s abrupt departure from Catskill is a huge blow to retail in Greene County and doesn’t speak well for the future of the pharmacy chain at other Twin County locations.

Company spokesmen could not give any details Friday on what will happen to the two stores at 173 Fairview Ave. in Hudson and at 5 Garland Lane in Greenville.

Many Rite Aid stores were acquired by Walgreens Boots Alliance, Walgreens’ owner, for $4.4 billion last September. In October, the company announced it would close some Rite Aid stores “to ensure we have the right stores in the right locations.”

What the right locations are is something of a mystery because, in recent years, Walgreens stores have been popping up in close proximity to Rite Aid stores. The Rite Aid in Catskill was across Route 9W from Walgreens; in Hudson, Rite Aid and Walgreens are practically next-door neighbors. Maybe those are the wrong stores in the wrong locations.

Catskill’s Rite Aid fell victim to the usual suspects: changing shopping habits, an uncertain economy, low consumer wages and saturation of a market in which only the fittest survive.

Walgreens adds to the tension by not saying which Rite Aids will be converted into Walgreens and which will be sold and closed permanently. Unfortunately for shoppers, the fate of Catskill’s Rite Aid is already sealed.

Casual onlookers, especially in Hudson, might ask why a Walgreens was built next to a Rite Aid, which is across Fairview Avenue from a CVS, forming a bizarre triangle of similar stores. They might also want to know why Rite Aid can now be added to the roster of lost retailers in Catskill.

Sadly, the answer is that the village isn’t big enough for two drug-store chains.