Merchant’s CVS protest reveals corporate greed

Merchant’s CVS protest reveals corporate greed
(L-r) Lilyanna Pekic, TNMA event coordinator; Peter Del-Debbio; Bob Jaen, TNMA president; John Collazzi; and John Marano, and (front) Anthony Regano protest in front of CVS Pharmacy on Saturday, July 17.
Photo by Aracelis Batista

Merchants in Throggs Neck protested the lack of community involvement by a chain drug store.

Standing with picket signs, Throggs Neck Merchant Association members and supporters rallied on Saturday, July 15 at the CVS Pharmacy at 3775 E. Tremont Avenue, drawing attention to its lack of community concern.

The rally alerted the store’s customers to the merchant groups’ contention that the local CVS hasn’t contributed to any local drives, such as the merchant’s holiday street lighting, sponsorship of local little league teams, participation in the annual merchant sidewalk sale and now the Throggs Neck Business Improvement District effort, said Bobby Jaen, TNMA president.

The goal of the rally, said Jaen, was not to tell people that they should not shop at CVS, but merely to highlight the situation that he categorized as disengagement.

Jaen said he seeks to stress that the organization has no problem with the employees that work at the location, explaining the problem is with CVS corporate in Rhode Island and what he terms ‘trickle-down’ charitable efforts that never get to the actual community.

“We are going to inform the community and let them make their own decisions,” said Jaen, adding “I am in the position where I should let the community, merchants and property owners know what is going on with big corporations that put us on the back burner.”

Other corporate parmachies, including Rite-Aid and Walgreen’s, have been very eager to give back to the community.

CVS only appears to give to charities they select and never grassroot ones who solicit their help, said Jaen, saying that their community giving stops at ‘corporate America’.

“I am not sure that the residents know of their lack of support,” said Richard Rosario, TNMA vice-president. “We want to inform all of our residents about the lack of support from such a large corporation.”

CVS is the largest retail pharmacy operator in the country with about 9,700 locations at the end of 2016. It is roughly an $80 billion company.

The incident that spurred Jaen and his colleagues into action was when a CVS manager told TNMA officers that the company’s mere presence in the commercial corridor was its gift to the neighborhood, according to Jaen.

Whether it is contributing a portion of a parking lot for the annual TNMA sidewalk sale or donating to the organization’s annual golf outing.

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.

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