Marion Town Supervisor Jody Bender returned from an event on Thursday morning to the news that the Marion Pharmacy at 3903 South Main Street in the hamlet had closed its doors.
Owner Paul Johnson, called the Times on Thursday morning with the news. The national pharmacy chain Rite Aid has purchased their prescriptions in a deal reached Thursday morning.
The Pharmacy has been a mainstay of Main Street for over 180 years. Johnson purchased the business and building in 1995.
“It was not my intent to surprise my customers, without notice,” said Johnson. Due to the nature and confidentiality of a purchase like this, Paul said that advance notice of the sale cannot be disclosed. “I was comfortable that the Rite Aid in Williamson will handle our customer’s prescriptions, I know and trust the two pharmacists there - Mark Hermanet and John Sommerville. I have worked with Mark, and John used to own the Marion Pharmacy,” Paul acknowledged.
As of Thursday, September 29th, the phone number at the Marion Pharmacy automatically rings into the Williamson Rite Aid.
Declines in small business in Marion, including the closing of a hardware store, several restaurants, and a building fire which destroyed many apartments, has hurt the Pharmacy’s bottom line.
Paul said this is the 7th pharmacy he has opened and closed (bought and sold) since he began in the pharmacy business.
Paul explained that it was important to him that his employees were taken care of after the sale. Both Sue Haak and Tim Wyman were offered positions with Rite Aid.
As with all national chains who purchase independent pharamacies, part of any contract is that no pharmacy can be located in the building after its purchase. Although Johnson and his wife still own the building, they do not currently have a tenant for the space.
When prescriptions declined over the last year, Paul decided to buy another pharmacy and run two stores, to make the business profitable for him. After purchasing the Red Jacket Pharmacy in Manchest in August of this year, Rite Aid’s offer to buy the Marion Pharmacy came at just the right time for him.
“I am very grateful to the Marion people who supported us at the Pharmacy. When hometown people support their local businesses, everyone wins. It’s when they stop, that the market softens, and business declines,” said Paul.