Elizabeth City Downtown, Inc. Executive Director Deborah Malenfant said the closing of the Todd’s Pharmacy downtown location will impact more than just the store’s customers.
Malenfant called the news of Todd’s closing next month, noting the store is an anchor among downtown businesses. Todd’s has had a presence in the city’s downtown since 1956.
“Todd’s is an icon downtown and it is a huge blow for downtown,” Malenfant said. “They are always very busy and they brought a lot of customers to downtown.’’
Todd’s principal owner William Owens said Monday he and his partners decided to sell the pharmacy’s two locations in Elizabeth City and sites in Camden and Moyock to CVS Health because it is becoming harder and harder to compete with the large retail pharmacies like CVS, Walgreens and Walmart.
“Community retail pharmacy has changed a lot over the last 10 years,” Owens said. “The long-term trajectory is not in a good way and a decision was made. In a perfect world the initial plan was to continue to run everything with my junior partners but that doesn’t look to be an option. Every year, it gets a little bit harder. This is as good a time to make this change as we could for everyone involved.”
Owens said the four Todd’s locations will close between Aug. 10 and Aug. 12.
Prescriptions for Todd’s Elizabeth City and Camden customers will be transferred to the CVS pharmacy on Ehringhaus Street in Elizabeth City on Aug. 10.
Todd’s Currituck customers will have their prescriptions moved on the same day to the CVS location at 233 Carmichael Way in Chesapeake, Virginia.
Currituck Commissioner Owen Etheridge said Moyock lost a critical service when Todd’s announced it was closing its location on Caratoke Highway.
Etheridge has been a customer at Todd’s in Moyock since it opened in 2001 and like other Currituck customers that now means a trip into Virginia for a prescription.
The CVS on Carmichael Way in Chesapeake and the nearby pharmacy at the Edinburgh Walmart are both about a 40-minute roundtrip trip from the current Todd’s location in Moyock.
The only other pharmacy in Currituck is in Grandy, which is 28 miles from Moyock.
“I consider a pharmacy an essential service,” Etheridge said.
Etheridge, who represents Moyock, has asked Currituck Economic Development Director Larry Lombardi to immediately begin recruiting a pharmacy to locate in the northern part of the county.
“I have asked Larry to expedite finding somebody, hopefully sooner than later,” Etheridge said. “I think the county will do everything possible to help.”
Lombardi said the process of attracting a new pharmacy would probably take a couple of years because typically retail chains prefer to build instead of moving into an existing building.
“They would have to buy land and then they would have to submit plans (to the county),” Lombardi said. “I don’t think we will see anything in the short term.”
Lombardi said he has been in touch with brokers representing pharmacy chains in the past but nothing has come from those discussions.
“But it will be interesting to see if I get any calls now,” Lombardi said.
Lombardi said it’s his opinion that CVS could already have plans to open a pharmacy in Moyock.
“I wouldn’t think that CVS would be buying them out without stepping in somewhere,” Lombardi said. “I wouldn’t think they would allow one of their competitors to come in and set up shop. If you think through it, I think they (CVS) would have a plan in place. They just wouldn’t leave this market wide open and say, ‘you can just go to Chesapeake.’”
Camden is in the same situation as Moyock. The opening of Todd’s in Camden a few years ago provided a pharmacy in the heart of the county. County Manager Ken Bowman couldn’t be reached Friday about the effect losing Todd’s will have on Camden.
Malenfant said there is a lot of interest in downtown storefronts and she’s hopeful that a new tenant for Todd’s Poindexter storefront will be found quickly.
“It’s a pretty open floor plan,” Malenfant said. “Retail would be an easy transition for that space. It could transition to office space. The options for that space are great.”
With the number of people living downtown increasing, Malenfant has been pushing for a small grocery store, or bodega, to open downtown and said Todd’s would be a good location.
“I would love to have a bodega downtown,” she said. “We are taking some steps forward in that regard.”
CVS corporate spokesman Matt Blanchette said the company is working to ensure the transition will be seamless and that pharmacy care in not interrupted for Todd’s customers.
“We are pleased to continue to serve the local community with our best-in-class pharmacy services and COVID-19 response, including testing and vaccinations,” Blanchette said.
Blanchette also said all existing Todd’s employees will be considered for positions at local CVS locations. The closing of the four pharmacies will impact eight pharmacists and the equivalent of 40 full-time positions, Owens said earlier this week.