The poignant "For Rent" sign in the window of Schoelles' Pharmacy in Sea Cliff compels me to write this letter. The termination of this historic landmark makes one feel that the final nail has been driven into the coffin of independent pharmacy as we once knew it.
I grew up in Sea Cliff at a time when there were two drug stores in town ¬ Schoelles' Pharmacy and Schmidt's Drug Store. Schoelle's Pharmacy, originally owned and operated by William Schoelles, was famous not only for the dispensing of medicinals, but also as the town's meeting place where homemade ice cream was served both indoors and outside on the side porch. Schoelles' has had a long succession of owners and managers, familiar names such as "Doc" Lazarus, Milton Lippner, Bob Swaida, and, most recently, Fran Gatto and Arthur Wagner. Schmidt's Drug Store, on the other hand, was owned and operated by "Doc" Schmidt and Irving Sniffen. Its chief characteristics was an immense island in the center, which contained the soda fountain, featuring Horton's ice cream. Subsequent owners included Lou Stitzel, Emil Dobkin, who changed the name to Dobkin's Pharmacy, and Tony Genduso. Glen Cove enjoyed the personal services of such men as "Doc" Berry, Oliver Auchinpaugh, and Fred Chidester in the old theater building on School Street, the three Perkins brothers in Croft's Drug Store, Bernie Pollen in Economy Drug, "Doc Klingen" in Liggett's, Leonard Bondi and Al Norwesh in Bondi's Pharmacy on Glen Street near the station, and Eddie Dow in his little store on Glen Cove Avenue on the Sea Cliff/Glen Cove border.
You see this scene of corporate takeover repeating itself all over the country not only in the pharmacy profession but also in other independent retail businesses, such as stationery stores, hardware stores and grocery stores. Is it just me, or do you, too, miss the personal attention and service that was so freely given in these so-called "mom and pop" stores?
This is not meant to disparage the arrival on the scene of the giant drug chains, for they, too, provide a necessary health service to the community, though, perhaps not in a way that I would envision to be totally desirable.
Is it too late to "revive" the Wm. Schoelles Pharmacy? I, who have had 35 years in the practice of community pharmacy in Glen Cove and Locust Valley (first, Chidester's Pharmacy, then Bauer's Pharmacy, and finally, 28 years at Bell and Halpern Pharmacy) am writing to see if there is a glimmer of hope and/or interest out there that would encourage one to re-create a professional, personal service type of pharmacy on the site of this recently-demised 104-year-old institution. Any reaction your readers may have to this suggestion may be phoned in to 676-0448 after 3 p.m. weekdays, or mailed to 67 Laurel Ave., Sea Cliff, NY 11579-1915. If a sufficient and favorable response is elicited, perhaps a consortium of concerned individuals could be formed to support such a venture.
Charles F. Bell