Watertown's north side residents upset with Kinney Drugs closing

Dec. 14—WATERTOWN — North side residents have expressed frustration and sadness that they cannot stop the closure of Kinney Drugs in the Seaway Plaza.

Debbie and Bill Dermady organized the petition drive on Change.org to try to keep the Gouverneur company from closing the store that has been in the Seaway Plaza for decades.

But it appears that the company has already made up its mind. In a prepared statement sent Wednesday, the company said it will proceed with the store closing, calling it "a difficult decision."

"We apologize for the inconvenience this may cause to our most loyal and dedicated customers. We appreciate your continued support and trust in Kinney Drugs," the statement reads.

The store will be closing the last week of January.

After hearing that news, Dermady responded in a text message, "Very sad for the people on this side of town."

Earlier in the day, Dermady said she has gone to the Seaway Plaza store for so long that she knows the pharmacists working there. She considers them friends.

Jack Kriesick and Karen Flick have taken care of their prescriptions and medical needs for decades, she said. Working at that store for 30 years, the two pharmacists are the longest-reigning team in the chain.

"We all are like a family you are tearing apart because of the almighty dollar," she said.

Low-income families who don't own cars and senior citizens living in the neighborhood will be hurt by the decision, she said. It's hard for them to get to the other ends of the city to the Kinney Drugs stores on Washington, State and Coffeen streets, she said.

"What are they doing to the north side?" north side resident Sylvia Buduson said. "We need that Kinney Drugs on the north side. I'm flabbergasted."

When the closing was announced Friday, the company said the decision came after an analysis of the store's business trends as well as the "challenges" the pharmacy industry is facing.

In saying that it remains committed to the community for many years to come, the company stressed on Wednesday that no other stores in Watertown will close.

"Our patients can receive the pharmacy services that they are accustomed to, at our three remaining Kinney Drug stores in Watertown," the company said.

In what the company says will be a seamless transition, prescriptions will be transferred to the State Street store.

The chain also offers free prescription delivery for those who cannot travel to the State Street location. The closure will not affect the employment status of the store's staff, including the pharmacists, as they will be relocating to State Street, the company said.