Auburn Gresham community fights to stop CVS on 79th, Halsted from closing

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A CVS store located in Chicago's Auburn Gresham neighborhood is getting ready to close its doors. It's a place where many people go to shop or fill their prescriptions, and now the community is fighting to save it.

Days after some South Side residents found out the CVS in the 7800-block of South Halsted would be closing, there are calls for a boycott of the pharmacy by the neighborhood's alderman.

"I'll take my prescriptions and transfer them to Walgreens or Walmart, somewhere. I will not support you if you close this store here," 17th Ward Alderman

The CVS is expected to close for good on Friday. Moore said he found out about the plan from one of his block club presidents who says the move will hit everyone hard, especially seniors.

"We use this store religiously all the time for little things, for anything we haven't already gotten," said Betty Swanson, president of the 79th and Carpenter block club.
"Most of the seniors, they'll come here for their prescriptions."

"Some of them don't have the opportunity to go farther because they don't drive. Some of them are like bed ridden," neighborhood resident Juanita Love said.

Last year, the company announced it would be closing nearly 50 of its underperforming locations nationwide. At least four locations in Chicago and at least another three locations in the suburbs are slated to close or already closed, like the one near 59th and Ashland Avenue.

In a statement, a spokesperson for CVS said, in part: "As part of the regular course of business, we review all of our stores' financial performance before making such a decision...We understand the disappointment of our closing stores' neighbors and customers."

The company adds it notified the mayor's office of the upcoming closures back in November and then informed Alderman Moore soon after.

"I'm very frustrated that they have not met with the residents. We do not want this CVS closed," Moore said.

Carlos Nelson with the Greater Auburn Gresham Development Corporation said it's another economic blow to the neighborhood. CVS is the third major business in a year to close on 79th Street. A bank and restaurant left the area a few months ago.

"That just doesn't feel right, right here at 79th and Halsted the busiest bus line in the entire city," Nelson said.

It's leaving residents frustrated once again.

"Everything is shutting down in our neighborhood," resident Felicia Sylvertooth said. "We have beauty supply stores, dollar stores, what are we going to do now."
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