Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Abacus Pharmacy: Open

Too often we hear of independent businesses vanishing from the city, and local pharmacies were some of the first to go.

From 1990 - 2003, New York City lost 447 neighborhood pharmacies, a 28% decrease. In the same time period, the city gained 434 chain pharmacies—a 263% increase. And the casualties keep mounting. In the East Village, we watched them all fall (almost--except for the lovely Block Drugs and ?) under the pressing weight of Duane Reades and Rite-Aids and Walgreens.

But what is this?



Little indie Abacus Pharmacy opened a few months ago on 2nd Avenue and 11th Street. If you haven't been yet, check it out. The people who own it and work there are friendly and helpful. It feels good to shop there. But the place is often empty--I don't think many people know it exists yet (only 10 Facebook friends). So now you know.

Every time we pass a shuttered pharmacy, the windows are full of signs from Duane Reade or Rite-Aid that say, in essence, "Our massive, impersonal chain is now taking your prescription transfers!" Well, fuck 'em. If you live in the East Village and fill your prescriptions at a chain, why not transfer them to Abacus? Support the little guy--and enjoy the pleasures of a retail relationship where the people behind the counter remember your face and want to take care of you for once.

13 comments:

S.S. said...

Don't forget Gary Aloni's Thompson Chemists on Thompson near Prince (and its recent spin-off, a cosmetic branch on West Bdwy near Prince).
Gary used to work on a similar neighborhood chemist on Bleecker near W 1oth.
These stores are mom/pop, individually-owned, that opened up a decade or so ago in DIRECT COMPETITION to the large chains.

It's like Cheers, they all know your name, friendly, community oriented, senior discounts, etc. I used to go to Duane Reade and K-Mart, but they were SO rude and anonymous.

I strongly urge you to go out of your way and patronize these stores.

S.S. said...

Read what Yelp fans say about Thompson Chemists. When have you seen reviews like this for Duane Reade or CVS?
http://www.yelp.com/biz/thompson-chemists-new-york-2

Jeremiah Moss said...

thanks S.S. i am so glad Abacus has opened. i was a regular at Estroff, then it became CVS/Procare, but i stayed with it because the staff stayed and they were wonderful. then that closed.

it's tough because convenience is important when it comes to pharmacies. if a place doesn't have evening or weekend hours, or it's out of your way, it might mean you don't get an important Rx filled for days.

i'm hoping that, as more customers move to Abacus, they will expand their hours, too.

Anonymous said...

Im all for supporting the local business, but the cynic in me is awaiting the day when "artisinal apothocaries" begin to proliferate.

Marty Wombacher said...

Thanks for this post, I'll start taking my business there!

marjorie said...

Can I put in a word of praise for Avalon Chemists on 2nd Ave at Houston? They're really nice and have helped me deal with my farshtunkiner insurance company. And once when my kid's doctor wrote conflicting medical advice (one thing on the prescription pad and another in the file) Avalon sorted everything out for me despite having to deal with a very rude physician's assistant who refused to believe that the holy infallible doctor could have made a mistake. Tiffany at Avalon was polite but relentless and got me the answers I needed. Calvin is awesome too.

Goggla said...

This is good to know! I'll definitely look into transferring my prescriptions - I've had terrible experiences at all the chain pharmacies in the area.

Eric said...

I get all my prescriptions filled at a local pharmacy in Greenpoint that also acts as a community center of sorts for the Poles in the neighborhood. The pharmacist knows and watches out for me. It's nice.

Jeremiah Moss said...

thanks Goggla and Marty. Marjorie, thanks for the good word about Avalon. Abacus is more convenient for me to get to, but it's good to know there are still a few indies left in the EV.

Ms. said...

Yes and yes again to supporting the locals where recognition is a part of the service. I patronize Prohealth (2nd Avenue between 22nd and 23rd Street, and also a second one between 9th and 10th Streets) where Jose is the nutritionist ready to advise, and where Boris, the owner, and the staff are kind and helpful, and my senior discount is automatic. Oh, and sometimes, I search for a specific homeopathic up at Hickey Chemists on 1st and 48th when something rare is needed. Hickey does a regular radio show as well, and there is always someone knowledgeable in alternatives to talk to.

Anonymous said...

My late Uncle Murray owned a pharmacy...closed..my Dad's best friend owned a pharmacy in the West Village (Tut Goldman)..long gone.

Sammy said...

Ave. A Pharmacy will always leave my scrips so i can pay for them even when pharmacy hours are closed which is super convenient.

Anonymous said...

Do they have pills and creams and different kinds of ointments? This would be good for people to go shopping there.