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Downtown San Francisco Losing Another Walgreens, This Time in a Tourist-Heavy Area

Written by Astrid KanePublished Oct. 20, 2023 • 2:31pm
San Francisco's Union Square will lose a Walgreens location on Nov. 15. | Source: Garrett Leahy/The Standard

Downtown San Francisco is set to lose its third Walgreens in under two years.

A store at 500 Geary St., at the intersection with Taylor Street, will close on Nov. 15. That corner, at the northern edge of San Francisco's low-income Tenderloin neighborhood, is less than three blocks west of tourist-heavy Union Square, the city's prime Downtown retail district.

Joann, a Walgreens associate who said she was not authorized to give her last name, confirmed the impending closure to The Standard, adding that employees have not been told why.

"I cannot tell what the reason is," she said. "You'll have to call the 1-800 number."

A Walgreens associate at the 500 Geary St. location confirmed the impending closure to The Standard. | Source: Sebastian

A sign posted to the window of that Walgreens states the pharmacy will close at 3 p.m. on Nov. 15 and refers customers to a nearby location at 135 Powell St., about four blocks away.

Walgreens closed at least five San Francisco locations in 2021, shuttering another two in Downtown in February 2022. The company currently operates approximately 40 stores in San Francisco, some of which have been the site of numerous high-profile episodes of shoplifting and violence.

Last week, for example, eight masked thieves allegedly brought a wagon into a Geneva Avenue Walgreens and filled it with merchandise, only for the San Francisco Police Department to apprehend six of the subjects. Police Chief Bill Scott later said the thieves also brought a baby to Walgreens.

In April, alleged shoplifter Banko Brown was fatally shot by security guard Michael Earl-Wayne Anthony at a Walgreens on Market Street. The killing, which led to large-scale protests and demonstrations, spurred Sup. Dean Preston to introduce legislation at the San Francisco Board of Supervisors restricting security guards from drawing firearms in some circumstances.

That, in turn, caused Twitter/X owner Elon Musk to call for Preston's imprisonment. Preston subsequently left the platform, and the full Board of Supervisors passed the legislation unanimously.

Astrid Kane can be reached at

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