Over 3,000 residents of Windsor Terrace signed petitions and pledges to boycott the new Walgreens once it opens.
“I think we've been loud and clear,” Windsor Terrace resident Ryan Lynch said at last week's rally. “We've collected petitions and pledges to boycott from over one-third of all households in Windsor Terrace.”
Lynch said that Walgreens has fallen short of giving an “adequate response” about issues, including whether the new site will be a full-service grocery store and how the new store will attempt to meet the needs of the community.
“The response has to be either you come as a full-service grocery market or you provide a full-service grocery market at this location, or you're not coming,” said Lynch. “It's that simple.”
Elected officials also showed their support of the community.
“Walgreens is technically taking possession of this property, but morally we're in possession of the property,” said Assemblyman James Brennan. “Since Key Food shut down and Walgreens took the lease we've had a tale of corporate greed and business insensitivity to our community.”
“To Walgreens, you've heard our plea and our recommendation,” said Borough President Marty Markowitz. “You either step up and respond to the legitimate real needs of this community or step out.”
Neil Eisenberg told protesters to practice a “Walgreens walkout.”
“Realize you're in the wrong spot, you turn around and walk out,” he said. “Walk out of Walgreens.”
Balard Pharmacy is a small business located roughly two blocks from where Walgreens is set to open. The local drugstore has been owned and operated by Windsor Terrace resident Saj Patel for over 12 years.
When asked what he will do when a pharmacy giant opens only a few blocks from his store, Patel said, “I will be here. I have to fight.”
Patel said that residents have been coming into his store and telling him that they will boycott Walgreens.
“It's nice that people like it here,” he said. “I try to give them the best service I possibly can.”
Patel is not only concerned with his own store, but for Windsor Terrace in general. He said he is afraid that Walgreens will put many small business out of business, not just pharmacies. “They aren't doing anything for the community,” said Patel. “We really don't want them here.”