For downtown residents who need something fast—be it some aspirin, feminine-hygiene products, toothpaste, batteries, film, sunglasses or even a Red Bull to power up for the drum circle across the street—the CVS drugstore at 15 Haywood St. is a godsend.
For a downtown core that has all manner of shopping diversions, the daily essentials of life can be scarce. And for those downtown residents averse to hopping in their cars to retrieve any number of the various and sundry items they might need, the CVS (which years ago ceased to be a pharmacy and more of an uber convenience store), is a lifeline.
However, due to undisclosed “business decisions,” the store is slated to close on Sept. 27, says CVS Public Relations Director Mike DeAngelis, from corporate headquarters in Woonsocket, R.I.
“It was a business decision to close the store and not renew the lease at a store where we also closed the pharmacy a few years ago,” DeAngelis says. “The three employees that work there will be relocated to other nearby CVS locations.”
That’s good news for store Manager Penny Phillips and her employees, but as for patrons, “I’m not sure,” Phillips says.
“They don’t like it,” she says of her customers. “They’re asking ‘Why?’ too, and I don’t really know either, other than my lease is up.”
One of those aggrieved customers is 24-year-old Danielle Kramer, who moved downtown last year after relocating here from Richmond, Va.
“That sucks!” she says after learning that the store is destined to close. In her plastic bag, there’s a bottle of generic ibuprofen tablets, some Colgate Total toothpaste and a People magazine. Typically, she says, she depends on the store for much of her nonfood purchases. Now, she surmises, she’ll have to hop on her bike to trek out of downtown to a convenience store or, worse, a supermarket on Tunnel Road. (“Biking on Tunnel is frightening,” she relates).
“It’s really too bad,” Kramer adds. “It’s not so much the inconvenience, but Asheville is such a great place that people really want to live downtown. I’m lucky that I can, but I also feel that if we’re going to spend so much energy trying to figure out how we want to develop downtown, our leaders and whatnot might want to consider that people have to actually live here, and that means being able to buy our essentials. I mean, I don’t really need a $100 blouse, but being able to walk out my door and buy a Cosmopolitan and some tampons each month? That’d be great.”