Enumclaw Rite Aid closes Dec. 4

It’s unclear if medical information will be automatically transferred to another local pharmacy.

Enumclaw’s Rite Aid will be closing on Dec. 4.

A message on the social media platform Nextdoor made note of the closure on Nov. 19, and a store employee confirmed the closure to the Courier-Herald on Nov. 21.

“The decision to close a store is not one we take lightly,” Rite Aid spokesperson Catherine Carter said in an email. “The company, with the assistance of its advisors, carefully considers various factors in its decision-making, including business strategy, lease and rent considerations, local business conditions and viability, and store performance.”

The closure appeared to come as a surprise to come customers and clients, based on the comments under the Nextdoor post; 11 Rite Aid closures in Redmond, Bellevue, Seattle, and other cities were reported to close last October, but Enumclaw was not on the list.

There also did not appear to be any notice of the closure at the store location, nor were there any on the Rite Aid webpage about the local store, as of Nov. 21.

It appears several customers and clients, though, were told word-of-mouth by employees when they asked.

The Courier-Herald could not confirm if Rite Aid pharmacy patients need to take their medical information to another pharmacy in order to continue receiving prescriptions, or if Rite Aid pharmacists will be do this if asked, or automatically before the store closes.

“For our customers, we make every effort to ensure they have access to pharmacy-based health services, whether at another Rite Aid or other nearby pharmacy, and we work to seamlessly transfer their prescriptions to ensure there is no disruption of service,” Carter said, without providing details on how this may happen.

The local closure is one of more than 150 nation-wide after Rite Aid filed for bankruptcy on Oct. 15; another 200 stores were closed before the filing.

According to CNN, the company lost more than $3 billion over the past six years, $1.3 billion of that just in the first half of this last fiscal year.

Part of those losses stem from about 1,600 various lawsuits over opioid prescriptions; a $30 million settlement with the state of West Virginia was made in 2022 over its pharmacies allegedly contributing to an oversupply of prescription opioids.

Rite Aid employs about 45,000 people — including 6,100 pharmacists — across its 2,100 pharmacies in 17 states.

It’s unclear at this time how many employees are affected by the local closure, or how many pharmacy clients. Carter said about 75% of employees “have accepted opportunities to transfer locations” company-wide.