Well, if you’re one of those people who likes to pick up your prescriptions after getting your Can-Can deals, things are changing for you if they haven’t already, because 62 ShopRite Pharmacies — including the ones in Kearny, Lyndhurst and Belleville — were to have closed at or around Feb. 2, according to Wakefern, the company that operates the supermarket chains.
According to Wakefern, the prescription records of those who get their meds from Shoprite pharmacies were to be automatically sent to a near-by CVS.
“All customer prescription files at closing store pharmacies will automatically and securely transfer to a nearby CVS pharmacy, and we are notifying impacted customers,” Wakefern spokeswoman Karen O’Shea said in a written statement. “The pharmacy industry is highly competitive and we were unable to sustain sufficient sales despite our marketing efforts, which led to the difficult decision to close these store pharmacies.”
Richard Tully, the owner of Kearny’s ShopRite, says that while seeing the pharmacy at his store was difficult to see, it may end up being beneficial in the long run.
“We’re fortunate that we’ll be able to remerchandise the area,” Tully said. “The decision was corporate-based and I am sure it wasn’t an easy decision to make.”
According to reports, pharmacists employed by ShopRite will have opportunities to interview for positions at CVS. Other pharmacy employees, including technicians, will have opportunities for transfers to other departments within ShopRite, if desired.
Belleville ShopRite, meanwhile, sent letters to all of its pharmacy customers. In it, they thank the customers for their loyalty.
“We deeply appreciate the trust you have placed in us over the years to meet your prescription needs and assure you that your prescription records will be in good hands going forward,” the letter read. “…Be assured that ShopRite remains committed to delivering a wide assortment of healthy, affordable foods and wholesome meal solutions with the exceptional value and service you expect.”
What if I don’t want to use CVS? what are my options?
Now, with all of this in mind, customers who don’t want their records sent to CVS — and who would prefer they be sent elsewhere — may have them sent anywhere else. CVS reportedly paid Wakefern for access to its customer data and pharmacy records. But that doesn’t mean you’ve got to use them.
In Kearny, one of those alternates is Midtown Pharmacy, at the southwest corner of Kearny and Midland avenues (581 Kearny Ave. is the actual address.) In anticipation of the ShopRite pharmacy closures — also keep in mind, the grocery stores, themselves, are not closing — The Observer spoke with Dominick Zinna, the long-time owner of Midtown.
Zinna says it is times like these when larger-scale pharmacies shutter that customers often realize that locally owned pharmacies are a much better option, for a myriad of reasons.
The first — Midtown will take care of getting your active scripts and history transferred for you.
“Just give us a call, and we’ll take care of the rest,” Zinna said. “It’s that easy. We’ll contact the pharmacy and have the records sent to us.” (They’ll do this with any pharmacy where your records are, not just ShopRite.) Customers who might prefer to get the ball rolling on their own may also do so by contacting their current pharmacy to direct the records to Midtown, as well.
Still, it’s not just about the ease of transferring the records. There are plenty of other reasons.
How about this one, for instance. Since parking near Midtown can be, on occasion, challenging, it turns out not to be that big a challenge.
“If for any reason customers can’t get to us, we’ll get to them,” Zinna said. “Not only do we deliver prescriptions once they’re filled, we’ll also come to pick up the (written) prescriptions. It’s door-to-door service, both ways.”
This incredibly rare service is 100% free. There are no hidden fees. Nothing. There is absolutely no cost in either direction. And in a world where deliveries are no longer cheap (think of all the fees you pay just to get a small food order these days), this is an incredibly beneficial service, especially for the elderly, for those who do not want to go out in a COVID-19 world and for those who do not have vehicles.
Now if pricing is a concern — regardless of whether you have prescription coverage — Zinna says Midtown will work with customers to get you the best-possible price.
“We do our best to remain competitive,” Zinna said, while noting his staff is well versed with insurance and Medicare issues. “We’ll counsel anyone who has concerns on how it all works, especially with Medicare Part D.”
Among the many other personalized services are medical equipment availability, flu shots and immunizations (COVID-19 shots are not available presently), travel vaccines, counseling for those with diabetes, specialty medicines and flavoring for children’s medications.
They also offer over-the-counter pain medicines, cold & allergy relief, vitamins, oral health products, feminine hygiene items, first-aid products, contraceptive aids, hospital-grade breast pumps, custom-fitted diabetic footwear, compression stockings, pet supplies and so much more.
If you need a quick gift for someone, Midtown is a local Yankee Candle distributor, has an array of greeting cards, jewelry, Russel Stover candies and more.
So while the closure of ShopRite pharmacies might have seemed like a royal pain, the truth is, it really isn’t, especially in a world where pharmacies like Midtown exist. Why not give it a shot?
Contact Midtown Pharmacy by calling (201) 991-3454. The fax number is (201) 991-1319. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. At the store’s website, www.midtownpharmacynj.com, you’ll find ways to refill prescriptions and other pharmacy services, an e-option to get your prescriptions transferred, health news, COVID-19-related information and so much more. The pharmacy is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., weekdays; 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturdays; and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sundays.
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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.