This Walgreens store on Marketplace Drive in Bel Air will close June 17, one of 200 Walgreens stores that are closing across the country.
This Walgreens store on Marketplace Drive in Bel Air will close June 17, one of 200 Walgreens stores that are closing across the country. (ALLAN VOUGHT | AEGIS STAFF, Baltimore Sun Media Group)

A Bel Air Walgreens is one of 200 stores across the country that its Illinois-based parent company is closing as part of a company-wide restructuring and cost-saving program.

The Bel Air store at 585 Marketplace Drive, near a Target store and a Double T Diner, is scheduled to close June 17.

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"June 17 will be the last day of operations at that store," Walgreens spokesperson Phil Caruso said Monday.

Caruso said the prescription records of pharmacy customers will be automatically moved to nearby stores in the Bel Air area, including those at 1927 Emmorton Road and 1201 E. Churchville Road, the day after the Marketplace Drive store closes.

He said the records will be moved to the store "closest to the address we have on file for the patient," and customers will receive a letter with more information regarding their prescription records.

"It's never an easy decision to do this," he said of the closing.

The store at Marketplace Drive is about 13,000 square feet, and Caruso said a store that size generally has 15 to 20 employees.

He said the majority of the employees at Marketplace Drive would be able to transfer to other stores.

"We're still going to be the strong community partner that Bel Air has known us to be," Caruso said.

The Walgreens parent company, Walgreens Boots Alliance, of Deerfield, Ill., announced the closing of 200 stores in April, as part of its second-quarter 2015 earnings report.

The company had nearly $26.6 billion in sales for the second quarter, a 35.5 percent increase from the previous year, primarily driven by Walgreens' acquisition of the European pharmacy chain Alliance Boots in 2014, according to a press release.

Walgreens Boots Alliance also had $2.04 billion in net earnings, compared to $716 million for the second quarter of 2014.

The company began a three-year restructuring program in August of 2014 to reorganize and reduce costs.

"These actions are designed to restructure and invest in the company's future in a way that is better for customers and simpler for employees, resulting in a faster and more agile company," according to the news release.

Terry and Judy Neifeld, of Fallston, who have been customers of the Marketplace Drive Walgreens since it opened six years ago, expressed frustrations with the closing.

They said they visit the Walgreens, as opposed to CVS and Rite Aid stores closer to where they live in Fallston, because it is convenient when they do other shopping in Bel Air, and it is affordable. They also enjoy being able to pick up prescriptions at a drive-through window, as opposed to visiting the in-store pharmacies at the nearest Target and Walmart stores.

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Walgreens is also a preferred pharmacy in their health insurance plans.

"I was just so shocked, the first time that I went in there and saw this sign on the door," Judy Neifeld said of seeing a sign posted indicating the store will close.

The Neifelds, who use the Marketplace Drive store for prescriptions, as well as retail items such as shampoo and birthday cards, would have to take the congested Plumtree Road to get to the store on Emmorton Road, which is next to a Sonic Drive-In restaurant and near the MedStar Health building under construction behind the Walgreens and Sonic.

They live near where the Watervale Road bridge over Winters Run is being replaced over the next seven months.

"After the bridge is open, it'll be closer for me to go up to Forest Hill, than it will be to go to that [store] down at Plumtree," Terry Neifeld said. "It'll be faster and less miles. It's a shame, mainly all our shopping is done up in Bel Air proper."

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