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Walgreens closing 1 of 3 Charleston stores; Apple reopens on King Street

Walgreens East Bay Street closing

Walgreens will permanently close its drug store on East Bay Street in Charleston on Thursday. Warren L. Wise/Staff

The spate of closings occurring since the coronavirus outbreak and the ensuing economic shutdown continues across the Charleston peninsula.

Walgreens is shuttering one of its three peninsular Charleston drug stores while a clothing store is now dark on King Street.

The Deerfield, Ill.-based pharmacy giant will darken the location at 334 East Bay St. in Ansonborough Square on Thursday. The pharmacy will close at 3 p.m.

Walgreens closing sign at door on East Bay Street

A sign at the door of Walgreens on East Bay Street in downtown Charleston says it will close Thursday. Warren L. Wise/Staff

Prescription records are available at the store at 261 Calhoun St., according to a sign at the door of the closing location. The other downtown store can be found at 380 King St.

The East Bay store is offering 50 percent off makeup, vitamins and select wines to liquidate merchandise.

A company spokeswoman said the decision to close the store "was not easy," calling it part of a belt-tightening move announced last fall to darken 200 stores in the U.S. unrelated to COVID-19. 

The closures will represent less than 3 percent of Walgreens' overall locations, spokeswoman Alex Brown said. No other Charleston stores are targeted for closure.

"Given that we have multiple locations in many markets, we anticipate minimal disruption to customers and patients," she added.

Most of the affected employees are expected to be offered jobs in other Walgreens sites.

Also going dark is women's and men's clothing store The Skinny Dip at 345 King St. It closed Tuesday.

A clerk said the company's other stores in Nantucket and Palm Beach will remain in business, but the retailer needed to downsize because of fallout from the coronavirus. 

The closings of the drug store and clothing shop come amid a slew of other businesses, mainly restaurants, turning out the lights in the downtown area since the global pandemic began shutting down the economy in mid-March.

Fast-fashion store Forever 21 at King and Market streets is closing after a nine-year run. It reopened Sunday with a "Going out of Business" sale in a prime corner owned by real estate development company The Beach Co.

“While the retail landscape is constantly evolving, The Beach Co. recognizes the corner of King and Market streets as a premier retail destination," said Dan Doyle, senior vice president and chief operating officer. "The address is the only King Street retail space offering up to 30,000 square feet, and we are confident we will identify the right user for this exceptional location.”

Also recently closed are restaurants Kickin' Chicken and Subway on King Street, Ruth's Chris Steakhouse on Market Street, and McCrady's and Minero on East Bay Street. On Monday, Old Towne Grill and Seafood on King Street announced it will not reopen after 48 years in business.

Apple Store

A line of customers formed around the corner as people waited in line Wednesday for the reopening of the Apple store, far right, on King Street. It was the store's first day since closing in mid-March because of the coronavirus outbreak. Brad Nettles/Staff

Fruitful return

Apple was one of the first major retailers to shutter all of its stores across the nation when the coronavirus outbreak began in mid-March.

This week, it's reopening a handful of shops across three states, including one in downtown Charleston.

Apple store King Street

The Apple store in downtown Charleston, once packed with customers, has been empty since the company closed all of its shops nationwide on March 14. The King Street store will reopen Wednesday. File/Matthew Fortner/Staff

The Cupertino, Calif.-based technology giant opened its store at 301 King St. on Wednesday. The store will be open each day until 6 p.m.

Two others in Huntsville and Birmingham, Ala., reopened as well on Wednesday. Another store in Boise, Idaho, reopened Monday.

Customers will find a far different experience when they return to Apple stores as the company says it is following federal and state health guidelines to try to maintain safety during the pandemic.

Health measures will include temperature checks for customers, face masks for both employees and customers and limiting the number of visitors who enter a store, which could cause delays in service.

The company operates more than 250 stores across the U.S. Opening dates for other stores have not been announced.

Orlando's Pizza Mathis Ferry Road

Orlando's Brick Oven Pizza is now open in a second location at 230 Mathis Ferry Road in Mount Pleasant, for take out only during the virus outbreak. File/Warren L. Wise/Staff

Now serving

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Orlando's Brick Oven Pizza recently opened its second location in the Charleston area — for pick up only during the coronavirus outbreak.

The new location can be found at 230 Mathis Ferry Road. It's open 3 p.m.- 8 p.m. each day except Wednesday, when it closes at 7:30 p.m., according to its website. 

The other location is at 295 Seven Farms Drive on Daniel Island, which is open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon-8 p.m. Sunday, again for carry-out only.

Also, Charleston Crab House at 145 Wappoo Creek Drive on James Island is now serving again after reopening Tuesday, owner John Keener said. It's open until 8 p.m.

The A.W. Shucks Seafood Shack at 208 King St. reopened Wednesday and closes at 5 p.m.

The downtown Charleston Crab House as well as the Oyster House beside it on South Market Street could reopen by the middle of next week, depending on how the reopenings perform at the other two locations, Keener said.

Other restaurants are starting to reopen as well. Check with individual dining establishments on their service.

Nordstrom Rack reopening

Customers line up outside Nordstrom Rack in Bowman Place Shopping Center in Mount Pleasant last weekend after the clothing retailer reopened with safeguards amid the coronavirus outbreak. Warren L. Wise/Staff

Clothes line

Clothing store Nordstrom Rack in Bowman Place in Mount Pleasant is open again, and customers must wait in line to get inside under new occupancy guidelines brought on by the pandemic.

Like other retailers, it is increasing sanitizing, taking employees' temperatures, providing face coverings for workers and customers, following social distancing guidelines and limiting occupancy, reconfiguring merchandise, and changing entrances and exits.

Only a few fitting rooms will be open at one time, and each one will be cleaned after customer use. Tried-on and returned merchandise will be kept off sales floors for a period of time. Contactless curbside pickup is being offered, and hours of operation have been altered.

Nordstrom Rack's stores in Columbia and Greenville also are now open.

Publix Pharmacy

Publix Pharmacy is teaming up with ScriptDrop to provide prescription delivery within five miles of stores for a $5 fee. Provided

Rx delivery

Publix Pharmacy and ScriptDrop are collaborating to offer home delivery of prescriptions within a 5-mile radius of each in-store pharmacy for a $5 delivery fee.

There are no limits on the number of prescriptions ordered for delivery, but age-restricted products, controlled substances and prescriptions needing refrigeration are excluded. Prescription home delivery is not available for individuals with Medicare Part B and Medicaid insurance.

"We believe this service provides a convenient option for customers who are age 65 and over, have compromised immune systems or require medications but are limiting trips outside their homes," Dain Rusk, Publix vice president of pharmacy, said in a statement.

Customers who receive a text message when prescriptions are ready will receive a link to prepay for their prescriptions and choose delivery. Prescriptions are delivered weekdays after 2 p.m. To receive same-day delivery, orders must be placed before 11 a.m. Orders placed after 11 a.m. will be delivered the following weekday.

If an order is placed after 11 a.m. Friday, the customer will receive the order on Monday. Customers who want to transfer prescriptions to receive the service should call their nearest Publix Pharmacy.

Although the service is being introduced during the coronavirus pandemic, the company plans to continue prescription delivery beyond the crisis.


Coastal Expeditions on Shem Creek in Mount Pleasant is now taking reservations by text after being closed since March 17 because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The watersports company offers kayak and paddleboard rentals with reservations on rentals every half hour from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends as part of its soft reopening.

Payments are accepted by credit card only to eliminate unnecessary contact. All gear will be sanitized before and after each use. Employees and customers are asked to wear face masks while at the rental site property. Face masks can be purchased on site. They do not have to be worn on the water. Outdoor hand-washing stations are set up for before and after use.

The company hopes to expand service soon to include offerings such as the Bulls Island ferry, guided kayak tours and private charters.

Roadside return

Ruke's roadside fruit and vegetable stand is ready for its spring opening. Customers can find the stand 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Saturday starting May 20 near Holy Trinity AME Church at 378 Mathis Ferry Road in Mount Pleasant.

Do you know of a retail business that is opening, closing, expanding or in the works? Reach Warren L. Wise at 843-937-5524. Follow him on Twitter @warrenlancewise.

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