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Q&A: Community Matters at Five Towns Pharmacy

Newest owner of old business speaks about his challenges.

The original , known as Chateau Drugs, had been family owned for 50 years until 1990, when it was sold. Its third owner, Saud Ansari, of Hewlett, bought its current Broadway location (which used to house a furniture store owned by the father of Harvey Milk) in 2000 and reopened the drug and surgical supply store.

Patch spoke with him about his store and the benefits of shopping small.

Why should people come to independent pharmacies like yours over the bigger chains?

If you go to a doctor and you like and trust him, it doesn’t matter if he moves, you’ll still go see him. People feel like if they’re dealing with an independent pharmacist and they trust that particular pharmacist and they like the store, they’ll follow it.

People like to go to a small mom and pop stores where they know their pharmacist. In a big chain, it can be a different pharmacist every time. They know me — it’s personalized service.

What are the biggest challenges of running a store in the Five Towns?

All business is tough, same thing with the pharmacy business, but we’re surviving.

The biggest challenge to being in the Five Towns is the taxes. I pay $5,000 a month in real estate taxes on this building. That’s why you see so many empty stores and businesses going out of business. The taxes are so high so you can’t have lower rents.

As a newer business, you can’t survive. You need time to open a new business, like a year or two. That’s why a lot of people are moving out of Long Island and New York.

And what specifically in the pharmacy business?

The main challenge to community pharmacies is that a lot of insurances force patients to get mail-in prescriptions. There was a bill recently signed by the governor that insurances will not be able to restrict people to go to mail order. They’ll have the choice to go to us for the same co-pays.

The worst thing was when these pharmacy benefit managers started taking away business and forcing people to not file their prescriptions at their community pharmacy. They had to mail it away. That didn’t save any money.

There’s been a spate of , sometimes violent, of pharmacies in Nassau. What are you doing here to stay safe?

We’re going to have cameras, also, more than one or two people working at a time. I don’t stock narcotics.

Would you like to add anything else?

We should support community businesses of all kinds. Small mom and pop stores are the ones that build up the community. 

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