Osco prepares to close Nov. 5

Osco’s doors will close after lease agreement isn’t met.
Thursday, September 23, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 11:54 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

The closing of the Osco Drug downtown will bring more than just inconvenience for some shoppers.

“They were fair, they were kind, they were reputable and they were a good neighbor,” said Geoffrey Gunnell, a regular customer. “That’s why people are so sad.”

Managers learned this week that the drug store will have to close by Nov. 5 because of an inability to come to an agreement on its lease, said Karen Ramos, spokesperson for the parent company, Albertson’s Inc. in Boise, Idaho.

Since there had been no prior intention to close the store, an inquiry will begin as to whether Osco could move to another location in town.

“Of course it would be our hope that we would be able to have a location close by, but we’re unable to say as negotiations are going on at this moment,” Ramos said.

Ramos also said that a move in the near future was unlikely.

The company had been in lease negotiations with TKG Stadium LLC, a company owned by local developer Stan Kroenke and his partners. TKG bought the land currently occupied by Osco in April.

An employee passed the news on to disappointed regulars as she checked them out Wednesday afternoon.

Inexpensive vitamins and furniture kits will be among the products Gunnell will miss most. He said he had shopped at Osco since he can remember. The next closest Osco is in Blue Springs, outside Kansas City, 108 miles away.

Gunnell has yet to decide where he will buy vitamins once Osco is gone. He said he and his wife would not shop at Walgreens, a block away.

“That’s what other people are asking, ‘Where are we going to go?’” Gunnell said.

He expressed concern for other regulars who benefit from the store’s convenient location.

“There are a lot of handicapped people close by who shop here,” he said.

Pharmacy accounts will be moved to another store after Nov. 1, Ramos said. The company is currently negotiating which store will handle the accounts and will inform customers once it is settled.

In the meantime, customers are free to move their prescriptions to whatever pharmacy they choose.

Of the store’s 30 employees, only those who are willing to move will be able to keep a job with Osco. The company was already successful in placing a pharmacist at another Osco location, Ramos said.

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