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Downtown pharmacy closing after Walgreens purchase

Southside Bemidji residents who relied on Pamida filling their medical prescriptions are going to travel a little further starting in mid-December.

Walgreens said it has purchased the Pamida Pharmacy patient files, and starting Dec. 15, will have them in the drug store at 421 Paul Bunyan Drive NW.

"We were looking to expand our market," said Robert Elfinger, a corporate spokesman for Walgreens. "We are looking to serve more patients in this part of Minnesota."

Walgreens operates more than 7,700 drug stores nationwide.

"We intend to make this a seamless transition for Pamida patients," Elfinger said.

Pamida displayed a sign in its store, 200 Paul Bunyan Drive S., informing customers it would not fill prescriptions there after the close of business Dec. 14.

The sign, along with an ad in The Bemidji Pioneer, said Walgreens purchased the records. In part, the store sign reads: "Walgreens is looking forward to continuing the highest level of customer service you have been receiving."

When contacted Thursday, a store employee responded, "We're not allowed to say anything." The woman referred all questions to Pamida's corporate offices.

Jessica Gibbons, a marketing communications manager for the Illinois-based company, didn't return calls requesting comment.

Walgreens' purchase applies only to pharmacy records.

The status of Pamida's store wasn't clear Thursday and Lori Paris, president of the Bemidji Chamber of Commerce, said Pamida recently signed a 10-year lease for its current building.

"For the people living on the southside of town, it's a convenience" having Pamida downtown, said Paris, adding she hadn't heard of any changes at the store.

According to its website, Pamida, based in Omaha, Neb., serves more than 175 communities in 17 states. It operates 18 stores in Minnesota.

Steve Wagner

Grand Forks Herald Editor Steve Wagner can be reached at 701.780.1104 and He joined the Herald in April 2013, and previously worked as editor at the Bemidji (Minn.) Pioneer and in several roles -- including news director, investigative reporter and crime reporter - at The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. His reporting experience includes coverage of Dru Sjodin's disappearance and the federal death penalty case for her murderer, Alfonso Rodriguez Jr., along with several investigative projects. In his spare time, Wagner is an avid runner and occasionally writes about his experiences on his blog, Addicted to Running.

(701) 780-1104