Columbia\'s only 24-hour pharmacy no longer open after midnight

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COLUMBIA — The only 24-hour pharmacy in Columbia will no longer service customers after midnight. 

Walgreens said the pharmacy's Broadway location has new hours of operation to avoid staffing expenses when there is no sufficient revenue from customers.

Phil Caruso, Walgreens media relations personnel, said being open "13 hours of the day during busy times" will help it better serve the needs of the community. The change in hours came because of the number of people who would come in after midnight.

"The store will be open from 7am to midnight Monday through Sunday," Caruso said. "The closest 24-hour Walgreens pharmacy will be located in Jefferson City, and anyone who needs something past midnight can go there for prescriptions, but you can still buy your milk at 2am if you want to."

Bill Morrissey, Kilgore's pharmacist, said he thinks these changes could send new customers to other pharmacies that offer more than convenience.

"I don't know if it will affect Kilgore's hugely one way or another. Everyone thinks of chains like Walgreens as the competition, but we pride ourselves in personalized customer service, and people coming here so that they can pick up their prescription at 10:30pm out of convenience. So I don't think it will be a big deal for us," Morrissey said.

Morrissey said changes in the pharmacy hours at Walgreens may "increase migration of new customers at Kilgore's as people will now have the opportunity to chose a pharmacy with really good customer service like ours."

"I don't think it is going to hurt the long-term customers," said Ron Fitzwater, CEO of the Missouri Pharmacy Association. "The long-term customers are probably going to readjust their schedules so they can continue get their prescriptions from the same place."

Walgreens said changes in pharmacy hours are not uncommon in towns like Columbia depending on the schedules and needs of the community.