ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — With the upcoming closure of Portland Avenue’s Rite Aid in Rochester, business leaders and members of city council are sharing concerns on the future of the store and its services to the community.
The company announced Thursday that the location will close on May 10. It comes as other Rite Aid closures have been announced in Buffalo and Niagara Falls.
Those who share concerns say they are fighting to keep the Portland Ave. Rite Aid open. They feel without it, the morale of the neighborhood will worsen.
“When we do not have the safety, then the resources are going to leave. We’ve been saying the entire time if we don’t bring order and discipline back to these streets, there’s going to be disinvestment,” said Jose Peo, Rochester city councilmember.
Peo says the location has been prone to thefts in recent months, adding when it does close, the impact in the neighborhood will be felt significantly.
Albert Algarin, president of the North Clinton Business Association, says the nearby location on North Goodman Street may be in question as well. He adds community leaders have been working to prevent the Portland Ave. closure for months.
“In about a month, you’ll get 600 deliveries for seniors out of this store alone. What will happen to the 600 people that will get their medicine delivered? If this happens, it will be a crisis to the seniors and it will be a crisis to the neighborhood. A loss of a business and loss of employees,” said Algarin.
A spokesperson for Rite Aid cited several factors for the decision to close the Rochester store, including business strategy, lease and rent considerations, local business conditions and store performance.
Peo says the city needs to do more to hold the responsible suspects accountable.
“Hold the kids accountable. We don’t want any more political correctness. We want real talk. We’re tired of it, and we know we deserve better. This city deserves better and this neighborhood deserves better,” said Peo.
News 8 reached out to Rochester Mayor Malik Evans’ office Friday. A spokesperson for the city referred us to comments Mayor Evans made earlier in the week, saying the city has worked to keep the location open, adding, “The company has the obligation to inform the community before they make such a drastic decision.”
Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office did not return our request for comment.
Rite Aid added further that they review “every neighborhood to ensure our customers will have access to health services,” and that they will work to transfer current employees from the Portland Ave. location.