MEDINA — The Medina-based drugstore chain Ritzman Pharmacies Inc. announced Monday the sale of its 20 stores to nationwide chain CVS Pharmacy.
The company said the acquisition will include the closure of 17 of its 20 locations, including stores in Medina, Rittman, River Styx, Seville and Wadsworth.
The stores in Akron and Berlin will become CVS locations.
“This has been a lengthy process for Ritzman Pharmacy, including engaging the investment community, local and national chains, as well as private equity,” Ritzman Pharmacy President and CEO Eric Graf said in a company statement released Monday.
All pharmacy files from the closing stores will be transferred to nearby CVS locations, according to the statement.
“We have worked hard to sustain the independently operated community pharmacy model and are disappointed to bring it to a close, but it is time to pass our retail business to a company with more resources,” Graf said.
The acquisition of Ritzman is expected to be completed by the end of February.
The companies said they are working closely together to ensure the transition will be seamless for customers and access to pharmacy care is not interrupted.
Dorthea Jaklitsch, 74, of Medina Township, said Monday that she is disappointed to hear about the deal with CVS.
“I love the people at (Ritzman) Forrest Meadows,” she said on Facebook. “They know me and have been so helpful to me and my family over the years.”
CVS said it expects to interview any Ritzman employees who are interested in joining the CVS team.
“CVS Pharmacy knows that Ritzman Pharmacy has been providing trusted pharmacy care for its patients for decades and we are excited to continue that tradition,” CVS Division Vice President Everett Moore said in the statement.
Nicole Benko, 45, of Seville, said her family has been patronizing Ritzman’s Seville location for years.
“They know us by name and you feel like family when you go in,” Benko said. “We’ll be sad to see them go.”
With the acquisition, Ritzman said it is withdrawing its participation in the joint venture pharmacy with Northeast Ohio Medical University. NEOMED will be reviewing its options for how they will handle the pharmacy business.
Ritzman owns a management company, VAR, that will continue its management of Summa’s Home Infusion.
The company was founded in 1950, with its original location opening at 151 High St. in Wadsworth. As of 2017, Ritzman employed 60 people at its headquarters and 250 people at its retail stores. It was not too long ago that Ritzman moved into the new 13,500-square-foot headquarters in Granger Township. It left its 8,400-square-foot corporate office in Wadsworth in September 2017.
“While change is always difficult, especially after almost 70 years in business, customers and patients will benefit from having a wide range of products and services available and continued pharmacy care,” Graf said. “We wish our customers, our associates and their families a healthy future.”
Ritzman locations are currently in eight counties including Ashland, Holmes, Medina, Portage, Stark, Summit, Tuscarawas and Wayne.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.