Why spend the money to build a brand new Walgreens from the ground up, only to leave it empty and closed?
That's what neighbors in South Natomas are wondering.
"What in the hell are you doing? Like, who dropped the ball on this?" said neighbor James Armendariz with a bewildered chuckle, standing outside the unopened Walgreens Friday evening.
A peek inside the would-be store at 1630 West El Camino Avenue shows baskets and check-out kiosks ready go, as well as barren shelves.
"We saw everything get put in, from the bottom up, and we thought it was going to happen," said Armendariz, who frequents the adjacent Cheers Sports Bar and has watched the store's progress recalled. "Then when everything was being moved in, for whatever reason, they decided it's not happening and they moved everything right out. Put up the black plastic. Show over."
Armendariz, like many who live nearby, wonders what went wrong. The Walgreens signs are covered with black plastic and check-out lanes will remain customerless.
Walgreens spokesperson Emily Mekstan confirmed to ABC10 Friday evening "that we made a difficult decision not to open the store. That is the only info I have at this time."
The decision leaves Armendariz not only bewildered but also bummed
"Walgreens is great," he said. "Any time they're next to CVS you get competitive discounts, and competition breeds success, right? It's just good for people in the neighborhood."
For now, the catty-corner CVS will remain the intersection's reigning convenience store king.
"If you're going to build a spot," Armendariz said, "I'm going to understand the neighborhood and the layout before you ever get to this point."
He shakes his head imagining how much money was spent on tearing down the empty storefronts that stood there before, building a Walgreens from the ground up, bringing in product and then promptly stripping the store before even opening it.
"That makes zero sense," he said.
Councilmember Jeff Harris, who represents this area, told ABC10, "this is a blow to the community,' since it's not good to have an empty building.
He said he hopes that someday, something can be in this store, whether it's a Walgreens or something else. He also said he plans on pressing Walgreens next week as to why it made that decision.
Harris said the company's decision took all Sacramento stakeholders by surprise, including the developer working with Walgreens and shopping center owner.
"This is quite a shock," Harris said. "I feel bad this happened."
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