When Walgreens prepared to open a new Boyle Heights store earlier this year on Cesar Chavez Avenue, the drug store chain approached Michael Ramirez, who owns the nearby Farmacia Ramirez, about buying him out. Ramirez, whose father, Eddie, founded the pharmacy more than 30 years ago, rejected the offer. But his brother, Roberto, who ran the Ramirez First Street Pharmacy in neighboring East Los Angeles, not only sold his customer accounts to Walgreens, he closed his own store to work in Walgreen’s new Boyle Heights outlet, which competes with his brother’s pharmacy located a block away, reports EGP News.
Things have become even more awkward between the two brothers after a display featuring a photo of their father was installed inside the Walgreens that opened last summer at the corner of Cesar Chavez and Breed Street. A banner was also hung welcoming customers of the “Ramirez First Pharmacy” and “Farmacia Ramirez.” The chain said the installation of the banner and photo were approved by Roberto Ramirez, who joined the new store in September, and his mother.
Michael said he not angry at his brother for joining the competition but he told EGP that the sight of the banner and photo of his father at the new Walgreens store is upsetting and confusing to customers:
“They are trying to capitalize on my name, my hard work. I’ve been here for 34 years with my dad,” he said. “Just because you have permission doesn’t mean it’s right.”
Michael said he is looking to take legal action against the chain. Roberto, his brother, said he has no problems with the display.