Resident Samuel Levine, a former Nassau County District Court judge, said that many residents — especially the elderly and disabled — who live near the drug store relied on it for its convenience. Levine said he found out about the closing by way of an automated voice message saying that prescriptions had been transferred to Rite Aid. “I should have had the option to pick up my prescription,” he said. “People were given absolutely no notice.”
“So sad to see the neighborhood pharmacy go,” Sherri Gruchik Fackler told the Herald on Facebook. “The staff was always so nice and knew you by name when you came in. I feel very bad for all of those employees who gave so many years.”
“This is terrible, but even though Rite Aid is a chain, the pharmacy staff there was incredible and did everything to accommodate customers after the storm,” Daniela Lemm wrote on Facebook. “I will go there anytime.”
Harkreader said that Rite Aid has hired some Kings Pharmacy employees. “Customers will even notice some familiar faces, including many of the same pharmacists and pharmacy staff whom they’ve long trusted at Kings,” he said.
Kings has locations throughout the metropolitan area, including a store in Freeport, and each one is individually owned and operated. Rite Aid is one of the nation’s largest drugstore chains, with more than 4,600 stores.
Goetz, Chamber of Commerce President Michael Kerr and others said that Venigalla may have sold the business over a disagreement with the landlord. “The owner may have decided to sell the business and not renegotiate the lease after it was given an offer by Rite Aid,” Kerr said.
“We heard a bunch of things, mainly that the landlord did not do major repairs to the store after Sandy,” said the owner of a nearby business who declined to be named. “It’s going to be a shame for the block because it was definitely a draw.”
Kerr said that corporate chains like Rite Aid, CVS and Walgreens have been buying out small, independent pharmacies. Last year, he said, Rite Aid acquired Bi-Wise Drugs, at 26 W. Park Ave., which remains vacant.