Middle Neck Pharmacy in Great Neck will close its doors after more than 40 years of business, according to its general manager, with full pharmacy services ending on Monday and the store slated for likely closure in late January.
Gregory Conta, the general manager of Middle Neck Pharmacy for over a year, said the lease was ending in late January and the business could no longer afford the rent. The pharmacy has been open since 1971.
He said Middle Neck Pharmacy is in the process of liquidation and selling goods at a discount while the pharmacy business itself is merging with CVS just across the street.
“We’re in the process of electronically transferring all information to them and our customers will be able to access the system tomorrow,” Conta said on Monday. “Today we’re doing full pharmacy [service], trying to get all last doctor calls in, every refill, everything we can do to help our clientele that’s been very faithful to us and very loyal.”
“It’s upsetting, even myself being here for a short term, but again, we have some of the best customers I’ve ever seen,” Conta later said, adding that Great Neck is a “great town” with “great people.”
The Great Neck peninsula has struggled with vacant storefronts in the past, with an overall vacancy rate greater than 10 percent in the villages of Great Neck Plaza, Great Neck Estates and Great Neck as recently as summer 2016.
Hooshang Nematzadeh, a real estate developer and vice president of the Great Neck Chamber of Commerce, said the rate still hovered around 10 percent as of last year. He attributed this to the difficulties of doing business, including higher taxes driving up rent, online retail challenging downtowns and demographic changes.
“Other areas do have the same problem,” Nematzadeh, who is also a trustee in Kings Point, said on Monday. “Roslyn is doing better, but Port Washington has the same issues on Plandome Road with vacancies.”
When asked if he was surprised about the closing of Middle Neck Pharmacy specifically, he said, “Totally.”
Jeff Kim of Northern Real Estate, which seeks to lease the 5,000-square-foot space, said that he has received some calls from interested parties, including the Everfresh supermarket next door, but that nothing is finalized and Middle Neck Pharmacy is not moving out until the end of January.
In a follow up call on Tuesday, Kim said they are “in negotiations” with a major cell phone provider but that he is not at liberty to disclose who.
Howard Hassan, a manager at Everfresh, said the supermarket has been “hopeful for years” for an opportunity to potentially use the space. But nothing has come of it yet, he said, and the business first needs to “see if it would come to fruition” before commenting on specifics.
“I know that for sure we would be thrilled to be able to expand and service our shoppers better, to have more room, making it a better shopping experience,” Hassan said.
Representatives from two pharmacies also reached out to Great Neck residents on the Great Neck Mommies Facebook page, including Great Neck Chemists, which has been in business for 30 years, and Colony Pharmacy.
“Dear friends and families of Great Neck, after 40 years of terrific community service, Middle Neck Pharmacy is sadly closing its doors,” Abe Harooni of Colony Pharmacy posted on Facebook. “We at Colony Pharmacy welcome all Middle Neck Pharmacy customers. We will gladly transfer all your prescriptions and refills to us and fulfill all your pharmaceutical needs.”
Daniel Longo, the business development manager for Great Neck Chemists, also said the pharmacy “would love to welcome any past Middle Neck Pharmacy customers.”
“Great Neck Chemists has been serving the Great Neck community since 1987 with the same ownership,” Longo said. “Free delivery and personalized service has always been our mission.”
Another pharmacy mentioned in the group that would deliver was Town Pharmacy, which is located next to North Shore Farms.