More than five months after fire destroyed the Rite Aid store just off the University of Maryland, Baltimore campus at 300 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., company officials, University of Maryland School of Pharmacy Dean Natalie D. Eddington, PhD, FCP, FAAPS, and a cast of local elected officials gathered Oct. 20 to reopen the store.
Rite Aid had been operating out of a temporary trailer since May, when civil disturbances struck many West Baltimore communities. “Reopening and rebuilding at 300 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. was a priority for our company,” said Bryan Everett, Rite Aid executive vice president for operations, “as we know local community residents depend on Rite Aid for both their health and everyday needs.”
Susan Henderson, senior vice president and chief communications officer at Rite Aid, addressed a gaggle of news cameras, giving thanks for the support of community leaders, elected officials, and the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy. “We have our friends from across the street, thank you so much,” she said. “They have been very, very helpful to us and working with us for many, many years, the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy Dean Natalie Eddington and her colleagues.”
Congressman Elijah Cummings, who represents the community in the U.S. House of Representatives, emphasized the importance of neighborhood pharmacies. “These pharmacies are very, very, very important,” he said. “They are survival stations.”
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, JD ’95, echoed Cummings’ remarks, adding her appreciation for Rite Aid’s commitment to the community. “We’ve seen across the country in the wake of unrest, looting, and rioting companies choosing to shutter their businesses and move on, choose to disinvest. What we are celebrating today is a promise of tomorrow and a commitment to stay.”
“You have the University of Maryland right across the street, and I see the dean of our Pharmacy School here,” noted Catherine Pugh, state senator for the 40th District. “I know that you do a lot of work on behalf of our community to make sure that not only are there prescription drugs available, that we’re making sure that we keep our community healthy and we can’t do that if we don’t have these kind of institutions in our neighborhoods.”