The building that housed the drug store in Woodmere, vacant for the first time in 30 years, is available for rent through its owners, the Alrose Group.
The 7,200 square-foot store, part of the Keyfood shopping center on Railroad Avenue, is entirely owned by Alrose, a real estate development company headquartered in Woodmere. A partner at the company, who agreed to be interviewed but not identified, said there has always been a drug store in that location.
“These days, you’re up against high Long Island taxes, which is tough,” he said. “There’s no question that the economy is also having an effect on real estate."
He added, "We would consider dividing the store. The bigger it is, the harder it is to rent.”
The partner wouldn’t state exactly what the lease price is, but did say that the partners consider it to be at fair market rate, as well as a good location.
“It’s the only shopping area in Woodmere that has its own dedicated parking lot, as opposed other shopping areas that only offer a municipal lot or street parking," the partner said. "And it’s right near the Woodmere train station.”
Being that there are several CVS stores in the immediate area, he said it’s unlikely that another national drug store chain would take over that location. Also, these companies tend to seek out bigger and/or free-standing locations for their new stores.
“It probably won’t be a retail store anymore,” he said. “The only people interested would be those with a service business like a physical therapist, a spa or a gym.”
The partner also indicated that he does have a client that is very interested in the store, although nothing has been set in stone.
Over 10 years ago, the store was Genovese Drugs, later re-branded as Eckerd and eventually acquired by Rite Aid in 2007. When Rite Aid closed last year due to poor sales, all patient prescriptions were transferred to the on Broadway in Woodmere, which is a common industry practice.
"The store is closing because it was no longer profitable for us to operate at this location," Rite Aid spokesperson Eric Harkreader Patch at the time.
John Mengel, a custodian at the , said that he misses having a drug store at the shopping center, and fears that high taxes will drive away potential tenants.
“What this town really needs is a theater,” Mengel said. “A small movie theater that would show independent and avant-garde movies could fit in well at the old Rite Aid store.”
Tony Vinceslao, a partner at , said that the closing of Rite Aid has had a small effect on his neighboring business and he would like to see the vacancy filled.
“Some people would go there [Rite Aid] and then stop in here for a slice of pizza,” Vinceslao said. “Anything that comes would be good for the shopping center."
Mario Divella, another partner of Friendlier, agrees that the Rite Aid closing has affected his business to a small extent, but goes on to say that the drug store didn’t do that well anyway.
“Rite Aid was a dead store that didn’t generate a lot of business,” Divella said. “What we could use here is a hardware store. That would be perfect here.”
There’s no telling for sure what kind of store will eventually move into that location, but it’s almost certain that it won’t be a restaurant. According to Vinceslao, Friendlier’s lease agreement doesn’t allow another food business to move into that shopping center.
“There’s a lot of stores vacant in Woodmere,” Vinceslao said. “I’m okay, because I’ve been here a long time — for 36 years. But to start a business now — forget it.”