Chain Pharmacy Closures Providing Opportunities for Independent Businesses


Published: Jul 9, 2024
by Annie Pilon
In Small Business News

For years, independent pharmacies have struggled to compete with large chains. But now, a series of closures in some areas are opening up new opportunities for small businesses to thrive in this space again.

For example, Rite Aid announced the closure of most of its locations in Michigan and Ohio last month, as part of the company’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy restructuring plan. Many customers located in cities and suburbs are likely to simply take their business to other large chains like Walgreens and CVS. But in many rural areas, Rite Aid was the only large chain pharmacy in town.

Steve Kennedy, owner of The Anderson Pharmacy in Bay City, Michigan, recently told local news outlet ABC 12, “We’ve already been approached by quite a few of the Rite Aid customers looking for a place to go. This is obviously going to make us a little busier.”

Kennedy continued, “There’s going to be issues, especially in the rural areas where there was only a Rite Aid, that is going to be an issue. I don’t know what is going to happen in those situations. People are going to have to drive or maybe mail orders more.”

In many cases, Rite Aid is automatically transferring existing prescriptions to other nearby pharmacies. But customers are still free to move their accounts to anywhere they choose. This could provide opportunities for existing pharmacies to grow their customer base quickly. For example, some might offer discounts or promotions for customers who transfer their prescriptions. In many cases, simply being open and providing fast, friendly service may be enough to create more loyal customers.

This change may also provide openings for those who are interested in opening new businesses in these rural communities. Pharmacies are always in demand, especially in areas where customers are left driving for miles to get their medications. And these stores also provide tons of essential items like food and personal care products that customers value.

Image: Depositphotos

Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 12 years. Annie covers feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. She has a bachelor’s degree from Columbia College Chicago in Journalism and Marketing Communications.

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“This is another huge addon!!”

“As more large chain pharmacies close up across the country, business opportunities are being created for small independent pharmacists…”

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