Save Mart closing pharmacy

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storewanderer
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Save Mart closing pharmacy

Post by storewanderer »

I am not sure if this is all locations or just some locations...

https://kmph.com/news/local/save-mart-m ... -customers

If this is all locations, this is very unfortunate news. They will lose store traffic from doing this. In Reno area, only one of the Save Mart locations has a Walgreens in the same shopping center and the other locations have no drugstore in the same center either.

I am surprised the former Albertsons person running Save Mart went for this move. A deep understanding of the value of having a pharmacy in store should have resulted from decades at Albertsons. Has the pharmacy business really deteriorated this much that they just cannot financially do it anymore?

Maybe this is more of a California issue since Stater did this previously, Raleys did it to half of their pharmacies, and now this with Save Mart. Many independents and small chains still running pharmacies in grocery stores all over the US, though that is rare in CA.
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Re: Save Mart closing pharmacy

Post by reymann »

I feel like the pharmacy industry feels they could make more of a profit by going to a delivery and grab and go model at this point. It's a double whammy at a time when drug stores are ramping down on brick & mortar operations.
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Re: Save Mart closing pharmacy

Post by norcalriteaidclerk »

As the only Google results for this news story are from multiple stations owned by Sinclair Broadcast group, I can only take this with a grain of salt;but if there is any truth to this,this is very curious because some save Mart pharmacy locations are more than a mile away from the nearest Walgreens and/or much closer to either traditional competitor: Manzanita (my closest supermarket)is closest to the Rite Aid less than a mile down the road while Gerber Road shares a center with Rite Aid.I wonder if we could see a potential bi-mart situation in which Walgreens was the master acquirer of the pharmacies only for certain locations to have their files acquired by other entities.

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Re: Save Mart closing pharmacy

Post by storewanderer »

norcalriteaidclerk wrote: August 10th, 2022, 10:46 pm As the only Google results for this news story are from multiple stations owned by Sinclair Broadcast group, I can only take this with a grain of salt;but if there is any truth to this,this is very curious because some save Mart pharmacy locations are more than a mile away from the nearest Walgreens and/or much closer to either traditional competitor: Manzanita (my closest supermarket)is closest to the Rite Aid less than a mile down the road while Gerber Road shares a center with Rite Aid.I wonder if we could see a potential bi-mart situation in which Walgreens was the master acquirer of the pharmacies only for certain locations to have their files acquired by other entities.

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There is a quote from a Save Mart spokesperson in some of the articles... confirming that this is in fact happening.

A couple people posted about it on the Save Mart Facebook, but nobody seems to be responding there.

This is really a no good deal in Reno. The Walgreens operations that will pick these pharmacies up are a nightmare; so understaffed. Multiple unsafe feeling stores. Save Mart's pharmacies were great, I never saw them cut hours, always open until 8 or 9 PM during the week, half of the time later in the evening they'd literally fill the prescription while you stood there... you just gave it to them, stood there a few minutes, paid, and left... the people who worked in the pharmacy never seemed stressed out or overworked at all (they seemed sort of bored actually)... I had actually been wondering how their pharmacies were staying afloat, but figured the COVID business gave them a big boost recently... but thinking about the general lack of traffic under normal circumstances, I guess that is why they are closing. Too bad.

Also to those long tenured pharmacists and pharmacy techs who will be losing their seniority as a result of this, that is also too bad. Were Save Mart's pharmacies under UFCW? Walgreens obviously isn't. Save Mart should have sold to Rite Aid which is unionized in those markets (are the pharmacists under the same union?) then they could have at least helped the employees out to keep the continuous union membership for the impacted employees. And in some of these locations where Rite Aid has no stores they could have just run the pharmacies inside the stores, continuing pharmacy service inside those stores.

I think some lower volume Save Mart Stores were being kept open due to having some pharmacy traffic. It will be very interesting to see how much grocery business they lose by doing this.

This is also another big problem in Nevada where Save Mart accepts certain insurance types that Walgreens does not accept.

I wish Save Mart had sold the Nevada Stores to Albertsons or Kroger before doing this. This type of move closing the pharmacy down really screws up these stores for a potential better operator to take them over. I suppose the pharmacy could be reopened by a stronger chain if Save Mart would go away (they probably should just go away...).
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Re: Save Mart closing pharmacy

Post by Alpha8472 »

This is happening at the Save Mart owned Lucky pharmacies is Northern California. The supermarket will stay open, but the pharmacies will close in the next 30 days or so. A Lucky pharmacist told a customer and that customer transferred to my pharmacy.

The problem is that running a pharmacy has drastically changed in the past several years. Just earning a profit is difficult as insurance companies reimburse many medications at a loss these days. The pharmacy can go into debt if it is a low volume pharmacy. Save Mart pharmacies were so low volume that they barely made a profit or went into a loss.

The bean counters at the corporate office look at the numbers and freak out. They do not realize that pharmacies bring in customers to shop. When you are waiting for a prescription, you shop and end up with a basket full of stuff that you would not have bought.

Pharmacies make most of their money these days on insulin or vaccinations. This does not include COVID vaccinations and COVID drugs which the government forces pharmacies to fill and give away free at a loss.

A shingles vaccination is hundreds of dollars and requires 2 shots. The profit from just one vaccination could be equivalent to the profit from dozens of prescriptions.

Insulin can be very profitable for pharmacies. However, if you order too much rare insulin and they expire you lose thousands of dollars. That would kill the profit of the pharmacy and show up as debt.

Running a pharmacy is a balancing act. You have weigh profit and loss. You have push vaccinations and you have to hope you get many patients on insulin with good profitable private insurance.

If your pharmacy accepts Medicaid, be prepared for Medicaid to not reimburse you for the full cost of the medication. You often end up losing money on Medicaid prescriptions. That is why Walgreens does not accept many Medicaid plans.

Save Mart takes money losing Medi-Cal, but most Walgreens do not. Costco also does not take California Medi-Cal. It is too much of a loss.

However, these customers shop in the store and more than make up for the money lost on prescriptions.
Last edited by Alpha8472 on August 11th, 2022, 4:36 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Save Mart closing pharmacy

Post by storewanderer »

The few giant chains left that will control all of the pharmacies will have the last laugh. It looks like it will be CVS, Wal Mart, Walgreens, and Kroger. Maybe Safeway/Albertsons in some form but let's see what happens there.

At this point some of those giant chains opt to refuse to accept certain "low reimbursement" insurances. Then the pharmacies that keep accepting those low reimbursements (grocery stores, etc.) seem to keep shutting down...

At some point there will be so few chains left that nobody will accept those low reimbursement plans. At that point those plans will either have to pay more, or a ton of people are going to lose easy access to prescriptions locally. Given many of those low paying plans are government funded plans, not having access to the major chains (after the alternate pharmacies that used to accept such plans all close) will not be acceptable politically and the problem will have to be fixed; it seems in the end the taxpayer is going to be the one paying more as those low reimbursement plans are forced to up their reimbursement to levels that will be acceptable to the few giant chains left who will control all of the pharmacies.

If someone has a positive experience with a store's pharmacy they will not only shop the store for the pharmacy but they will shop the rest of the store too, with more frequency than they visit the pharmacy. This move I expect is going to seriously upset a lot of long term customers. Many of these Save Marts tend to be in older neighborhoods with a lot of older customers and a lot of long term employees. This is not going to go over well at all. Save Mart should have done what Raleys did- close the pharmacies in select stores (seemed to be the ones in poorer neighborhoods), and for the ones closed, move those prescriptions to literally whatever the closest pharmacy competitor was (to, you know, keep the customer as close as possible so they keep going to the store for groceries). Save Mart is sending customers in a number of cases miles away, past multiple other grocery and pharmacy competitors, especially up here in Nevada. This will backfire, seriously.

May as well convert another block of stores to Food Maxx if the goal is to shut down departments and cut/save labor. Food Maxx runs these low volume Food Maxx units in NV with about 5 employees total in the entire store in the daytime sometimes, but they are definitely doing more volume than they did as Save Mart, with a small fraction of the labor.
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Re: Save Mart closing pharmacy

Post by bryceleinan »

Yikes, shades of the ill-informed Bi-Mart transition with their pharmacies. I did recently use the Save Mart pharmacy in North Carson City - fast and efficient, however, some really questionable business practices. They don’t have an online refill system, and the pharmacy called me 4 times for a non-refillable prescription. The pharmacist I finally talked to said that their system was copyright 1985, and they couldn’t get the phone to stop calling me unless I called corporate.

Well, that will be one less chain I can use, which is a bummer considering the train wreck that is the local Smith’s pharmacy.
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Re: Save Mart closing pharmacy

Post by reymann »

i feel like amazon will eventually absorb these "low imbursement programs" in the future as the try to push more prescription deliveries.
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Re: Save Mart closing pharmacy

Post by Alpha8472 »

Amazon pharmacy really is not that profitable. The vast majority of prescriptions for blood pressure or simple medical issues is low profit. The profit of pharmacies is getting people to vaccinate or shop other products in the pharmacy. Amazon Pharmacy might help to increase the number of Prime Membership sign ups.

If Amazon accepts Medicaid then Amazon would lose money on many prescriptions.

Amazon Pharmacy is ultimately a way to promote more sales at Amazon.com or Prime Membership sales.
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Re: Save Mart closing pharmacy

Post by norcalriteaidclerk »

storewanderer wrote:The few giant chains left that will control all of the pharmacies will have the last laugh. It looks like it will be CVS, Wal Mart, Walgreens, and Kroger. Maybe Safeway/Albertsons in some form but let's see what happens there.

At this point some of those giant chains opt to refuse to accept certain "low reimbursement" insurances. Then the pharmacies that keep accepting those low reimbursements (grocery stores, etc.) seem to keep shutting down...

At some point there will be so few chains left that nobody will accept those low reimbursement plans. At that point those plans will either have to pay more, or a ton of people are going to lose easy access to prescriptions locally. Given many of those low paying plans are government funded plans, not having access to the major chains (after the alternate pharmacies that used to accept such plans all close) will not be acceptable politically and the problem will have to be fixed; it seems in the end the taxpayer is going to be the one paying more as those low reimbursement plans are forced to up their reimbursement to levels that will be acceptable to the few giant chains left who will control all of the pharmacies.

If someone has a positive experience with a store's pharmacy they will not only shop the store for the pharmacy but they will shop the rest of the store too, with more frequency than they visit the pharmacy. This move I expect is going to seriously upset a lot of long term customers. Many of these Save Marts tend to be in older neighborhoods with a lot of older customers and a lot of long term employees. This is not going to go over well at all. Save Mart should have done what Raleys did- close the pharmacies in select stores (seemed to be the ones in poorer neighborhoods), and for the ones closed, move those prescriptions to literally whatever the closest pharmacy competitor was (to, you know, keep the customer as close as possible so they keep going to the store for groceries). Save Mart is sending customers in a number of cases miles away, past multiple other grocery and pharmacy competitors, especially up here in Nevada. This will backfire, seriously.

May as well convert another block of stores to Food Maxx if the goal is to shut down departments and cut/save labor. Food Maxx runs these low volume Food Maxx units in NV with about 5 employees total in the entire store in the daytime sometimes, but they are definitely doing more volume than they did as Save Mart, with a small fraction of the labor.
Please tell me the omission of Rite Aid is an unintentional oversight.

As for raleys,it was an early pioneer of grocery and pharmacy under one roof.The fall 2019 closure if select pharmacies (27 out of 96, roughly 30%)was simply a concession that certain locations weren't cutting it.Even beforehand,the namesake raleys nameplate was already playing the small ball game with smaller pharmacy-less locations in centers shared with a traditional chain drugstore (Sacramento Campus Commons, Rancho Cordova Anatolia). Additionally a number of Bel Air and nob Hill locations(with or without pharmacies)have long shared centers with chain drugstores.

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