License signals Rite Aid part of merger

BENNINGTON — Two local Rite Aid pharmacies will soon carry a new name: Walgreens.

Walgreens Eastern Co. Inc. submitted an application to the town of Bennington last month for both a tobacco and a second-class liquor license for the existing Rite Aid store, which is located at 194 North St. The company simultaneously submitted a similar application for the Rite Aid located on 4993 Main St in Manchester Center.

On Nov. 13, Bennington Select Board members, acting as the local liquor control commission, approved the application during their regularly scheduled meeting. The Manchester Selectboard approved a liquor license for Walgreens Eastern Co. Inc on Nov. 7.

The licensing change signals that both the Manchester and Bennington sites are included in a merger between the companies that federal regulators approved in September. The deal allowed Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. to purchase 1,932 stores, three distribution centers, inventory and assets from Rite Aid Corp. for about $4.3 billion.

A spokeswoman for Walgreens told the Banner that the company has not yet released a list of Rite Aid stores that it would be taking over under the deal.

Company executives had previously said it would close 600 stores over 18 months, starting next spring, according to news reports.

Most of the stores that will close are Rite Aid stores, the spokeswoman said. Those stores will close because they overlap with other Rite Aid or Walgreens locations: The "vast majority" of those that will close will be within 1 mile of another Walgreens-owned drugstore.

Rite Aid has 37 locations across the state, according to the company's website. Regionally, that includes Bennington, Brattleboro, Manchester Center, Rutland and Wilmington.

Walgreens' website lists only three existing stores in Vermont, those being in Brattleboro, Burlington and Rutland.

Cherise Madigan contributed reporting to this story. Ed Damon can be reached at, at @edamon_banner on Twitter and 802-447-7567, ext. 111.


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