A new CVS Pharmacy located at Telegraph Avenue and Derby Street launched a soft opening last Sunday, and its doors will open officially on June 1.
The store is housed in the building formerly occupied by Andronico’s Community Market, which closed in December 2011 when its parent company declared bankruptcy. The new CVS offers a wide range of products, from cosmetics to a variety of food options.
While some community members welcomed the chain to the new location, others felt a different establishment would have been more beneficial to the neighborhood.
Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates initially argued for a grocery store at the lot instead of another pharmacy, stating that the community’s needs could be better met by a new supermarket.
This proposal, however, was rejected due to the location’s proximity to Whole Foods Market and Berkeley Bowl.
Despite failing to pass his proposal, Bates said that the pharmacy’s ability to offer multiple services resembling those of a grocery store could still be useful.
“It’s interesting,” Bates said. “The trend is that what we call drugstores are becoming full-service locations serving everything from beer and wine to groceries and sandwiches.”
UC Berkeley alumna Sara Kallio says she likes the store’s new location because of its convenience and enjoys having the option to choose CVS Pharmacy over its main competitor, Walgreens, whose prices and locations are not always ideal.
“This CVS fulfills needs a grocery store can’t,” Kallio said. “Now I don’t need to go to the CVS on Shattuck to go to the pharmacy.”
The new CVS is one of several developments planned by the chain in the area. The company intends to open three more stores in Berkeley and 50 in San Francisco.
City Councilmember Kriss Worthington, whose district includes the new CVS, said that although some community members are concerned about the survival of local businesses with an influx of chain companies, people will ultimately choose the price and convenience of chains.
“We’ve had a couple efforts to have alternative pharmacies, but they haven’t survived, so I think we’re getting more of these kinds of pharmacies,” Worthington said. “I think some people are worried about what it’s going to do to the neighborhood pharmacy down the street. It’s not what some people are hoping to get, but it’s better than a vacant store.”
Contact Angelica Villegas at [email protected]