A pharmacist since 1965, Dick Brown knows the remedies for a lot of things. So the 70-year-old Chester County businessman self-prescribed recently after assessing market conditions and coming up with what he found to be an unappealing prognosis for independent pharmacy owners like himself.
His Rx: Sell and retire.
That, in addition to his wanting some time for tennis, golf, and other fun while his body is willing to oblige, is why Parkesburg (population 3,600) will no longer see the Longenecker Pharmacy sign at the Parkesburg Shopping Center. The store was to reopen Monday as a CVS.
And so passes another family-owned business perceived by the community it serves as more than a commercial enterprise.
“When I got sick, I received a get-well card and everyone in the pharmacy signed it,” Donna DiFerdinando of East Fallowfield, a Longenecker customer for more than 20 years, recalled recently on one of her weekly visits. She was taking advantage of markdowns on gifts, candy, and other nonmedicinal products that filled the bulk of the pharmacy’s 8,000 square feet.
She characterized the end of Longenecker – which even weathered a fire-related temporary relocation in 2005 – as “really, really sad.”
Brown called it “kind of bittersweet,” his retirement prompted, he said, by daunting competitive forces such as mail-order pharmacies, declining insurance reimbursements, and rule changes by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.