After a nearly five-year saga wrestling with small-town business politics and litigation, CVS will open its new pharmacy in Sebastopol on Jan. 22.
The 16,000-square-foot store rose from the site of the former Pellini Chevrolet dealership that sold cars there from 1932 until it closed in 2008.
Dan Egnew, who managed the much larger Sebastopol CVS at 788 Gravenstein Highway for the past two months, will run the new store.
“It’s the same amount of product we carry here,” said Egnew, who grew up in Sonoma County.
The new store’s central downtown location at 6877 Sebastopol Ave. is far better, he said. The existing store, though much larger than the new CVS, languished in the Redwood Marketplace next to a Lucky supermarket. All current employees — about 30 — will work at the new location.
Plans for a CVS and a JP Morgan Chase branch on the former auto dealership site emerged in about 2010. The bank eventually dropped plans for a branch at the bustling corner of Petaluma Avenue and Highway 12.
The CVS on Gravenstein Highway will close when the new store opens. Part of its inventory was being moved this week.
“We’re doing it right now,” Egnew said of the move, as he loaded cartons into a Penske rental truck on Jan. 9.
CVS Pharmacy fought long and hard for the new store, reckoning with shifting city politics and a citizens group called Small Town Sebastopol that sued over the adequacy of an environmental review, especially regarding traffic. Then CVS sued the city when it adopted a moratorium on drive-through facilities — exactly what CVS intended.
“No drive-through,” Egnew said. “That’s what they settled on.”
A legal settlement in the cases in October 2014 provided that a drive-through pharmacy be dropped and the company paid nearly $150,000 into city coffers. The settlement included $105,000 for Small Town Sebastopol legal fees. CVS funded a traffic-signal synchronization study for $45,000. The city spent more than $300,000 on the litigation.
Construction crews razed the car dealership in March then the new CVS construction began on the lot, which has ample parking with about 2.5 acres.
CVS Pharmacy, a subsidiary of Rhode Island-based CVS Health, had 2015 revenue of more than $153 billion from more than 9,600 stores that employ some 243,000 people. In California, the chain has nearly 900 stores, including about 250 located inside Target stores.
“The existing location will close and all prescriptions will be seamlessly transferred to the new store,” said Stephanie Cunha, public relations manager for CVS Health.
As with all the chain’s stores, the new Sebastopol store sells no cigarettes or other tobacco products.
James Dunn covers technology, banking, finance, accounting, manufacturing and law. Reach him at email@example.com or 707-521-4257.