Big drug chains go local

Two prominent chain pharmacies in Morris Park have agreed to become a lot more neighborly.

Officials with the Morris Park Community Association and Senator Jeff Klein’s office held a meeting on Monday, July 19 with representatives of the Rite Aid Pharmacy at 911 Morris Park Avenue and the CVS Pharmacy on Williamsbridge Road. The community wants the two stores to become more involved in local events, and to hire more local residents. CVS and Rite Aid have promised they will.

“We had the meeting with CVS and Rite Aid because we had a few concerns, mainly about people being hired that were not from the area, and we wanted more neighborhood input in the process,” Morris Park Community Association president Al D’Angelo said.

“They said they are willing to work the with the community to form a closer relationship. It was very productive, very cordial, and we got a lot of things done.”

When the stores opened several years ago, both were active in community events, D’Angelo said.

The association related to Senator Klein’s office that the two retailers hadbecame noticeably absent from nearly all community activities.

D’Angelo said the association also held the meeting after noticing that the two stores had few local employees, despite having high employee turnover.

“Earlier this year the Morris Park Community Association contacted my office regarding efforts to help increase local retailer involvement in community issues,” Senator Klein said. “We organized a community meeting between MCPA, CVS and Rite Aid to determine how these companies could assist in maintaining the quality and vibrancy of the neighborhood, and to ensure that the area residents are made aware of employment opportunities.”

D’Angelo said that not all of the stores in the business district, which stretches from Williamsbridge to White Plains roads, participate in community events and activities, such as parades and fairs, but most do. He said the reason the association was particularly concerned about these two stores is their size and influence in the area.

“They are two of the biggest stores, so we feel that they should be helping in the community,” he said. “They’re making a good living here, and I wanted them to give back a little more. I think anybody making money in the community should be giving back.”

As a result of the meeting the two stores agreed to not only get more hands-on with activities, but have also distributed job applications to the association, so residents will be able to apply at MPCA’s 824 Bronxdale Avenue headquarters.

CVS and Rite Aid did not return calls.

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