We spend a lot of time on this website picking on Duane Reade, because the chain has seemingly opened a new homogeneous store on every block in the neighborhood. Okay, not just seemingly — they have in fact opened a new store on every block in many parts of the neighborhood. (Also, as we first reported, Duane Reade appears to be encouraging people to play the binge-drinking game beer pong.)
But we’re here to say they’re not all bad.
Walgreen, the corporate parent of Duane Reade, just agreed to donate $3,500 to the West Side Campaign Against Hunger, which runs a supermarket-style food pantry in the basement of the Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew on West 86th Street. The donation was set in motion by a community dust-up last year. The Duane Reade on the second floor of the luxury rental building The Corner on 72nd Street and Broadway put a big television screen streaming advertisements in its window. The screen faced outward and reminded some locals of a mini-Times Square. After a community protest, the company agreed to remove the screen and move it to another store.
But Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal felt like more needed to be done to make amends. So she met with Walgreen execs, and suggested that they give a donation to the hunger organization. Clearly, she twisted their arms so hard they screamed “Uncle!” (That’s just speculation; she may have twisted their legs, or possibly not twisted at all). Duane Reade’s media reps haven’t gotten back to us.
And voila! Duane Reade is now a positive community fixture, just like any mom-and-pop that’s been around for 40 years and supports the girl scouts.
“This is the best possible ending to a situation that began with a lot of anger and frustration,” Rosenthal said.
Doreen Wohl, executive director of West Side Campaign Against Hunger, said, “Need is greatly increasing in our city. The West Side Campaign Against Hunger will provide food and counseling to 15% more people this year than last year. Support from good corporate citizen Duane Reade helps us keep enough food on our pantry shelves for all the people who depend on us.”
Welcome to the community, Duane Reade! We have many other needy folks who could benefit from the largesse of a massive corporation. We are not above guilting you into it.