North Berkeley Walgreens on Shattuck Avenue to close in November

The Walgreens pharmacy on Shattuck Avenue at Cedar Street in North Berkeley will close Nov. 10, among 200 store closures for the chain throughout the country.

Walgreens took over the space from Elephant Pharmacy 10 years ago, after the small Berkeley-based chain filed for bankruptcy in 2009.

In the last year, almost a dozen Walgreens in San Francisco and neighboring cities have closed down, with some of them attributed to shoplifting and theft.

Walgreens could not be reached for comment to confirm the reason for the Shattuck store’s closing, but the drug store giant announced in an SEC filing last year that it planned to close 200 stores around the country (about 3% of its total). No building or planning permits have been filed for the location, according to the city.

The next-closest pharmacies in North Berkeley are CVS and Safeway about a block up on Shattuck Avenue. A sign posted outside the soon-to-be closed store said that prescription records at the North Berkeley Walgreens will be shifted over to the downtown location at 2190 Shattuck Ave. after the closure.

Diane Lu was shopping at the store on Wednesday. Lu moved to the neighborhood in early September and said that, as a Type 1 diabetic, a nearby pharmacy was a key factor in deciding where to live.

“This one was literally four blocks away, so I’m sad to see it’s closing,” said Lu, who described it as a ‘perfect walk.’ “If anyone has chronic things that require going to the pharmacy, it’s a decent chunk of your life.”

Though Lu has largely pivoted to online ordering, she’ll probably have to bike to the Downtown location beginning in November for prescriptions and to do other small errands. She has nostalgia for Elephant Pharmacy trips while she was a student at Cal, and said during the pandemic her Walgreens runs have also been a way to get out of the house and interact with cashiers and other customers.

“Even though this location was a Walgreens, and still a chain, I feel like it did a decent job of integrating into the rest of the neighborhood,” she said.