The vacant former Rite Aid Pharmacy building along Benvenue Road in the northwestern part of the city is going to be replaced by a relocated CVS Pharmacy.
Matt Blanchette, a spokesman for CVS, said Thursday in an email to the Telegram that the plan is for the Rhode Island-based chain to bid farewell to the CVS location next to the Food Lion supermarket in Beaver Pond Centre just up Goldrock Road.
“We look forward to opening in mid-November at Benvenue, at which point the Goldrock location will be closed,” Blanchette said.
And Blanchette said the plan is for all of the employees who are working at the Goldrock location to work at the Benvenue location.
That Benvenue location is at the north corner of the busy intersection of Benvenue and Goldrock.
The relocated CVS also is going to be much larger than the present one and also is going to feature two drive-thru service lanes.
Aaron Brown, who works for Project Builders in Atlanta, told the Telegram on Thursday that crews have been at work at the former Rite Aid location for approximately six weeks.
Brown said that the crews gutted the inside and have been doing both drywall work and painting.
And Brown said that the plan is to have an all-new setup inside, including new checkout counters, a new photo processing center, a new pharmacy and new shelving.
The Chicago-area-based Walgreens, in a $4.4 billion deal in 2018, acquired more than 1,900 locations from the Rite Aid chain, whose roots are in Pennsylvania.
Walgreens also proceeded with already-made plans to close 600 locations over an approximately year-and-half long period.
Walgreens already had a location on the east side of the intersection of Benvenue and Goldrock and has kept it open.
Rocky Mount Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO David Farris told the Telegram he believes CVS believes that Rocky Mount is an expanding city and that this is a good time to expand and invest more dollars locally.
Farris on Thursday said he believes the former Rite Aid building is a great site.
“And it’ll be nice now to have that building occupied again,” Farris said. “It’s such a nice building. It looks good. It has a good presence.”
The Telegram asked Farris whether he believes what CVS is doing shows that the future CSX intermodal facility, the future relocated state Division of Motor Vehicles headquarters and the new Corning distribution facility factor into the minds of businesspersons to invest in locations or in bigger and better locations locally.
“I certainly do,” Farris said. “And they are looking at that as a very clear indication of growth in Rocky Mount — in and around Rocky Mount.
“And companies like that want to be part of it,” Farris said.
The relocated CVS also is going to be along a highly commercial segment of Benvenue from Hunter Hill Road over the Wesleyan Boulevard overpass and up to Country Club Road.
Specifically, the relocated CVS is going to be adjacent to a Sheetz convenience store, to a Tidal Wave car wash and to the Cobb Corners shopping center, whose anchor store is the Super Walmart.
State Transportation Department data shows the average daily traffic count at 27,500 on the part of Benvenue between Jeffreys Road and Cobb Corners Drive.
Farris acknowledged there is an effect as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, in that there is a need to have more space for social distancing inside and to have drive-thru service for customers who want to remain in their vehicles when picking up items.
“And we’re going to have that mindset, I think, going forward, not to the degree that we have it today,” Farris said.
Farris was quick to point out drive-thru service helped pharmacies and many restaurants already with such service in place, especially restaurants in the fast-food business.
And Farris said of the future relocated CVS having two drive-thru lanes, “It’s like a bank. People would just assume go through that and get their prescriptions refilled and pick ‘em up and keep going.
“Even as we exit COVID-19, I think that’s a smart move,” Farris said of businesses with such service.
Mayor Sandy Roberson told the Telegram on Thursday of the future relocated CVS that, “Well, of course, the high traffic is going to increase their revenues.
“Hopefully, what that does for ‘em is both give ‘em a competitive advantage and allows them to hire additional employees as the revenues go up as the space goes up,” Roberson said. “And as we shift into a COVID-19 kind of thought process, I believe that they’re going to end up in a much better spot.”
Roberson also was quick to acknowledge there are many surrounding residential areas from which to attract customers, including Northgreen and Country Club.
“I mean, it should be a real benefit to those folks from a convenience perspective,” Roberson said.
The store part of the future relocated CVS is going to be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays.
The pharmacy part of the future relocated CVS is going to be open from 9 a.m.to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays.
CVS already has a presence in the Twin Counties, with a location at Sunset and Forest Hill avenues in the Englewood area on the northwest side of the city and a location on Washington Street in downtown Nashville.