By Daniel J. McCue
Ned Hammond, a loyal customer of Midville Chemists on Post Avenue for more than 15 years, needed to get two prescriptions filled the other day and as has long been his custom, he proceeded to head over to Midville to do just that.
"It was really something," he said, recounting how he discovered that his pharmacist had gone out of business. "I turned the corner and saw all his files and everything being loaded into a truck.
"I hadn't received any notification of his closing in the mail or anything, and then I noticed a sign in the window. It said that all of Midville's prescriptions had been moved across the street to the Rite Aid store."
Though open now for only two weeks, the coming of Rite Aid, something hailed by the Westbury Business Improvement District and others, was anticipated by many a local resident as something of a mixed blessing.
What many feared is what came to pass just last Tuesday, as the new, bigger chain store came to town and a longtime business opted to close its doors as a direct result of insurmountable competition.
So quick was the closure and transfer of prescriptions that the phone number of Midville was changed to an extension in the Rite Aid on the very day Mr. Hammond saw the truck preparing for the short drive, a matter of feet, really, to the new store.
"Oh my God," said Mildred Little, another longtime Midville customer, when she was told of the news by a reporter. "Do you know how many people have been with Midville since it opened? Now where do I go for my prescriptions? This really should have been a more highly publicized thing.
"People, particularly seniors, often are in a hurry to get their medicine right away. TO find out, suddenly that your pharmacy is gone will get a lot of people in a dither."
Mrs. Little added, "You know, when you see what's happened to Post Avenue, it really makes you cry. When businesses begin to leave town, people soon follow."
"I feel very sorry for the people that are left on Post Avenue," said Ethel Hall, who has lived in Westbury since 1920. "These people take over and then they take all the business away.
"In my opinion, Rite Aid is spoiling this tiny village that we've all come to know and love so well," Mrs. Hall continued. "I'm not criticizing the people, mind you, but the architecture is, well... it just doesn't seem to belong... "
In a related note, Mrs. Hall said she has just recently spoken to Archie Williams, a longtime friend who was once the proprietor of the now-closed Maple Avenue Liquor Store, another victim of the Rite Aid coming to town.
Mrs. Hall reports that Mr. Williams hopes he'll secure a new liquor license soon, a development that will allow him to reopen at the former address of Parillo Shoes.
"He's been waiting for this license since October," Mrs. Hall said. "Apparently it takes longer to relocate a license than to go out and apply for a new one. It's such a shame. He is such a decent man."
As for Mr. Hammond? Though thrown at first by Midville's abrupt departure, he reports that he filled his prescriptions at the Rite Aid with relative ease.