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Marine Park’s chain gang is about to get bigger.
Yet another retail pharmacy — this one a Walgreens — is poised to move to Flatbush Avenue at Utica Avenue, even though seven similar stores, one as close as across the street, have already opened in the neighborhood.
Walgreens spokesman Robert Elfinger confirmed that the national drug retailer will construct a building the size of two tennis courts at the corner, where a gas station once stood.
Elfinger said the Walgreens should open by next spring, but couldn’t tell us how many jobs the new store will bring or if there will be any parking.
Residents are scratching their heads as to why another chain pharmacy would bother to open.
“I don’t get it,” Marine Park resident Nicholas Savino asked. “Don’t we have enough of these?”
Savino has a point: Not only is there a Rite Aid directly across the street from the new Walgreens, but there is also a CVS Pharmacy a block down on Flatbush Avenue near Avenue T — although that pharmacy is expected to close and move to a new site where the famed Kings Plaza Diner once stood on Avenue U and Hendrickson Street.
But wait, there’s more. There is another CVS Pharmacy on Ralph Avenue between Avenue M and N. There are also two more Rite Aids: one on Mill Avenue and Avenue U — about 10 blocks away — and one on Utica Avenue and Avenue J.
Duane Reade has also staked a claim in the area. It just opened at the corner of Avenue U and Nostrand Avenue — about a dozen blocks from the new Walgreens. And there’s also a Duane Reade at Ralph Avenue and Avenue M, less than a mile away in the other direction.
Walgreens already has three pharmacies within a mile of their new store — on Avenue U and Bragg Street, at Utica and Flatlands avenues and on Ralph Avenue near Avenue M (across the street from a CVS) — but Elfinger doesn’t believe his chain pharmacies are flooding the area.
“When we decide to open a store, there’s always a host of factors to consider, but in the end, we’re always looking for the best corners to provide the most convenient pharmacies and retail services,” he said.
But some have already found a convenient store — the mom and pop pharmacies they’ve been shopping at for decades.
“I’ve been using the same drug store on Glenwood Road in Canarsie since 1959,” said Democratic District Leader Frank Seddio. “I never understood how all of these [chain pharmacies] made it since they’re so close to one another, but I guess the laws of economics prevail. When they open a store, they must know that they’re going to make money even with all the competition around.”
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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