Brookings company selling off pharmacies

By Don Iler, Pilot staff writer October 23, 2013 08:24 am

C&K Market Inc., owner of Ray’s Food Place and Shop Smart, will sell all of its pharmacies, including Chetco Pharmacy and Gifts in Brookings and Pharmacy Express in Harbor. 

It plans to have them sold by mid-November.

The announcement comes on the heels of the company’s decision earlier this year to close grocery stores in Smith River and Crescent City, Calif.

“In a move to strengthen our operations, we plan to focus exclusively on our core business of operating community grocery stores,” said Gregory Sandeno, president of C&K Market Inc. in a press release.

The company owns about 15 pharmacies across southern Oregon and northern California that operate under a variety of names. 

Jim Rich, pharmacist at Pharmacy Express in Harbor, said he wasn’t sure what he was going to do now that he has heard that the pharmacy is closing down. 

“This location won’t be here. It’s caused me to rethink my retirement,” Rich said. 

Rich said he retired and moved here 14 years ago, but came out of retirement to go back to work as a pharmacist. 

“I wasn’t totally blindsided,” Rich said. “I almost half-expected something to happen.”

Grant Lunde, spokesman for C&K Market Inc., said the sales came after a strategic review of the company’s operations. 

“We’re selling the pharmacies in a move to get down to our core business of selling groceries,” Lunde said. 

The sale of the pharmacies comes at a time that has seen C&K Market downsize or close its operations in many areas. So far in 2013, the company has closed four grocery stores; three in California and one in Oregon. 

The company closed stores in Crescent City and Smith River this year after the opening of Walmart Supercenter in Crescent City hurt sales in those stores. The company closed its store in Walterville in the McKenzie River valley in September because it had not been profitable for some time. 

According to Lunde, the pharmacies have buyers, who have yet to be named. Employees of the pharmacies will have the opportunity to reapply for their jobs with the new owners. 

Prescriptions will be transferred to the new buyers, and local customers will be able to fill their prescriptions with other local pharmacies.