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Sunnyside Residents Hold Rally in Opposition to Impending Closure of Greenpoint Avenue Rite Aid

A group of Sunnyside residents, pictured, held a rally Thursday in opposition to the impending closure of the Rite Aid store on Greenpoint Avenue (Photo provided by Ty Sullivan)

April 22, 2022 By Michael Dorgan

A group of Sunnyside residents held a rally Thursday in opposition to the impending closure of the Rite Aid store on Greenpoint Avenue.

Around a dozen protesters gathered at around 6 p.m. outside the 46-12 Greenpoint Ave. store that will shutter on April 25.

They held signs that read: “Where will the employees go?” “Help the hand that aids you” and “We need our medicine at a walk distance.”

Located in the heart of Sunnyside, the store serves a large number of residents and takes up nearly half the block. The company notified employees and the public earlier this month that the store would be closing.

The demonstrators said that the shuttering of the store will make it difficult for many residents—particularly seniors—to access medications. They argued that the public wasn’t given enough notice about it shutting down and the company is not providing its 30 unionized staff members with suitable job alternatives.

The rally was organized by Johanna Carmona, a lifelong Sunnyside resident who is currently running for the 37th Assembly District seat — that covers Sunnyside, Maspeth, Ridgewood, and the Hunters Point section of Long Island City.

Carmona said that the closure of the store will have a negative impact on the Sunnyside community.

“This Rite Aid location serves our most vulnerable community members, providing access to their prescriptions and the trusted advice of pharmacists,” Carmona said in a statement Friday.

Carmona also expressed safety concerns for seniors who will likely have to travel to the Rite Aid store on Roosevelt Avenue to get their prescriptions. The store is on the opposite side of Queens Boulevard, which can be dangerous for seniors to cross.

The rally was organized by Johanna Carmona (L), a lifelong Sunnyside resident who is currently running for the 37th Assembly District seat. Carmona is pictured speaking to a passer-by (Photo provided by Ty Sullivan)

Ty Sullivan, a local activist who took part in the rally Thursday, echoed Carmona’s sentiments.

He slammed Rite Aid, arguing that it didn’t provide the community much in the way of notice about the store’s closure.

Sullivan said that many passers-by he spoke to had no idea the location was closing. He also said that many customers who depend on the pharmacy for their prescriptions only received written notice last week about the closure. The notice told them that their prescriptions were being switched to another location.

“Rite Aid handled it shabbily,” Sullivan said. “For a company that prides itself on neighborhood business, they did not handle this very well.

“There was a lack of outreach and care to alert people,” Sullivan said.

He said that the protesters were resigned to the fact that the store was closing, but felt it was their duty to voice their concerns. Sullivan’s 7-year-old daughter joined him at the rally.

Sullivan said that protesters also used the rally as an opportunity to thank the employees for their service. Some staff members came out to speak to the group.

A corporate spokesperson for Rite Aid did not specify a reason for the shuttering of the Greenpoint Avenue store but said that store closures are based on a number of reasons.

“A decision to close a store is one we take very seriously and is based on a variety of factors including business strategy, lease and rent considerations, local business conditions and viability, and store performance,” the company said in a statement.

The store is one of nearly 150 locations the company is closing, according to the statement.

In the statement, Rite Aid said it had taken measures to ensure customers will receive their prescriptions and that it looked to find employment alternatives for current staff members at the store.

“We review every neighborhood to ensure our customers will have access to health services, be it at Rite Aid or a nearby pharmacy, and we work to seamlessly transfer their prescriptions so there is no disruption of services,” the company said in a statement.

A group of Sunnyside residents, pictured, held a rally Thursday in opposition to the impending closure of the Rite Aid store on Greenpoint Avenue (Photo provided by Ty Sullivan)

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23 Comments

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William

I know this article is almost two months old, so please forgive me.
I only noticed this week that the Rite Aid on Queens Blvd (50-something street across from Staples) also closed down. Its a shame what has been happening to this once-decent neighborhood. And we haven’t seen anything yet….

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Paul Kersey

Once they trot out the, “the senior citizens of the community will be put at risk” narrative, you know who you are dealing with. I hope every Rite Aid closes tomorrow. Poorly run oversized stores that offer little to the community other than the place for prescriptions to be filled. Get your meds delivered through online pharmacies.Much ado about nothing

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Kenny

Rude commentary, employees that cared about the community lost their jobs. Have some compassion.

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Clearly

These protestors are a dollar short and many years late since Walgreens own both Duane Reade and Rite Aid, and still playing catch-up to CVS.

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UnfriendlyNeighborhoodSunnysider

Had I known, I would’ve gone. I stopped by last night for one last visit, but it turned out that the last day’s hours were 8am-4pm. It bums me out that it’ll be closed, but such is life.

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Truth

I know several of the people in the photos. Their primary reason for being there was to have their picture taken. I’m sure they conceived the whole thing just to create exposure for themselves. This is the kind of hypocrisy we will be seeing more of because everyone thinks they are qualified to run for office now.

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Arthur

Wow, what a huge crowd. I’m sure the board of directors will take note. They probably called an emergency meeting already.

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Bob

the funniest thing since Joey shook his shadow’s hand. i really dont see what the issue is. either we get a new condo, or a better store will come buy that doesnt try and fleece its customers with high prices.

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stop the garbage

This pharmacy has been here for many years. Another empty space which will be turned into an ugly condo.
Also: bear in mind that not every pharmacy accepts every insurance policy and that there is a “preferred” pharmacy list for many insurance companies. The massive shoplifting did not help . . .

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More?

Interesting I did not realize she (Johanna) knew all these familiar faces. Great representation. They are all active community people!

But do we know if the rite on 50th is safe? Or are they shutting down?

Is this rite aide becoming a Walgreens? Or is it going to become an “affordable” condo for outside kings and queens?

We also have CVS (41) and Walgreens (45 and 43). Can’t prescriptions get transferred to these?

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Reality Check

Have fun at the CVS ….. sooo slow and lack of personality. Enjoy waiting on the never ending line , while no phone calls are answered, enjoy !

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Joe

There is a CVS, Walgreens and several smaller drugstores in the neighborhood. You complain about big box stores and the need to help smaller mom and pop stores. Well now is the time to help smaller drugstores. This woman is just looking for a cheap way to pickup votes especially after her crime rally fizzled. What’s next Joanna protesting the 7 train delays?

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Joe

Why don’t these phonies go to the houses of the people stealing from these stores. Why not go to the houses of the politicians who advocate for unskilled people getting 15.00 an hour. Go to the houses of union leaders advocating for these people to be unionized. This is a cheap political stunt. These workers can get a job at the .99 store that will be put in it’s place.

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Gullible Republicans believe in myths fairytales and conspiracy theories

Joe-Join us here in reality. There is a Rite Aid just 3 blocks from this rite aid. Does it make sense to you to have both stores operating? The strongest and most robust economies in the US and the world are most unionized economies. Fact!!

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Brokn windows

They should protest the liberal politicians who opened the floodgates to shoplifters. That is the issue nobody wants to discuss because it’s “racist.”

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Sick of weak minded politicizing of every event and issue

Broken- Look up the word “redundant”

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Smh

Sick of hearing the truth? Or sick of realizing your party screwed up nyc? Maybe a little bit of both?

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Sick of weak minded politicizing of every event and issue

Sick of hearing: Uranium One, Satan-worshiping pedophiles, Space laser controlled by a corporate cabal and Rothschild, “Italygate” satellites used to change the votes cast, the return of John F. Kennedy and John F. Kennedy Jr.,
Pizzagate conspiracy theory, Antifa was to blame, The insurrection was peaceful, The riot was a false flag orchestrated by the FBI, Trump didn’t incite anything,The 2020 election was stolen, The 2020 election was stolen the Ukrainians.

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David

@Smh-A city where people continue to pay millions for a home mustn’t be that bad or beyond repair. Do you say the same for Republican run Mississippi,Alabama, Oklahoma or Tennessee? All showing much worse stats than NY in poverty crime and physical health.

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