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The overwhelming majority of Park Forest citizens have never known a time when a local Walgreens drug store wasn’t available to service their needs.
That, however, changes on Feb. 29, when the Park Forest Walgreens location will close its doors permanently.
“Obviously, we’re very disappointed that the facility will be closing,” said Village Manager Tom Mick. “Even though we recognize that Walgreens is cutting facilities in more than 100 sites across the nation, it’s painful to think that we’re one of those locations.”
For several years, Walgreens was located in the former Norwood Square Shopping Center on Western Avenue. It relocated to its current location in the mid-1980s and presently enjoys the status of being one of the longest-serving businesses in Park Forest.
“We recognize that the retail pharmacy industry is changing dramatically,” said Mayor Joseph Woods.
“So much is dependent on what type of insurance coverage individuals may have, or on whether it is more cost-effective to do mail-order purchasing or things of that sort. I’m sure all of that has had an impact on the company’s decision to close so many stores across the country.”
Mayor Woods said he would be meeting with Village staff and members of the Economic Development Advisory Group (EDAG) to discuss what options may be open to the Village to attract another business to the Walgreens site.
“That’s one of the most visible locations in the Village,” he said. “I’m hopeful we will be able to identify a type of business that could thrive in that location.”
In the meanwhile, according to Manager Mick, Park Forest residents should give careful consideration to what best serves them as regards their prescription needs. In addition to the ability to transfer the prescriptions to a different Walgreens location, as the company has suggested, Mick pointed out that another option – insurance permitting – could be to make use of the CVS pharmacy location in the Village.