In a move that is sure to upset some of its senior clientele, Busch's Fresh Food Market, an Ann Arbor-based grocery company, is closing all pharmacies in its 15 locations across Southeast Michigan by Oct. 21.
"We have had to make a very hard decision with regard to our pharmacy business and its relationship to our future growth and long-term strategic plan," Marla Booth, vice president of marketing said. "Our decision to close our pharmacies was not made quickly or lightly. We spent a considerable amount of time discussing the impact and what we would need to do to take care of our guests and our entire pharmacy team."
Booth cited the rapidly-changing healthcare industry, and the complexities of managing a prescription pharmacy business as two reasons why the grocer decided to halt its pharmaceutical operations.
"We're going to concentrate on food products and groceries, which is what our goal was when we opened 37 years ago," she said.
Booth said the company has been working with local CVS and Rite-Aid pharmacies, which will handle each store's prescription customers after Oct. 21.
For Dexter, that means customers will now have to go to the CVS located at 5449 Jackson Road in Scio Township, or transfer their prescriptions to the Dexter Pharmacy or another pharmacy of their choice.
Customers in Saline can have their prescriptions transfered to the CVS located at 413 East Michigan Ave.
"We tried to find a CVS or Rite-Aid that was within close proximity to each of our stores," Booth said.
Longtime customer Elaine Owsley of Dexter was so upset when she heard the news, she decided to stop shopping at Busch's.
"I moved all my prescriptions to your facility because of the friendliness, the ease of placing orders and the convenience of having them where I shop. One of the reasons I shop at Busch's instead of elsewhere is, honestly, the pharmacy," Owsley wrote in an email to the company. "I never have reason to go to the CVS, and I have no interest in being in a large chain operation. If I have to go down to Zeeb and Jackson roads now, I will do my grocery shopping at Meijer."
Busch's did not provide information on how many employees would be affected by the closures, however, Booth said the company is working with its pharmacy associates to assist with jobs.
"We have offered options to all of our associates currently working in the pharmacy. Some of those include being able to interview for existing positions in other departments within Busch’s if the need exists and the interest on their part is there, and also the ability to interview with either CVS or Rite-Aid," she said.
"We are confident that given all of the available options for our pharmacy teams, they will be able to more easily navigate the transition and come to the best decision for themselves personally."
Booth said customers who have further questions are encouraged to talk with their local pharmacist.