By Lee Howard, The Day, New London, Conn.
Jul. 17–Old Lyme — A half century of local ownership ended last week at the Old Lyme Pharmacy as the 9,600-square-foot store on Halls Road joined the Rite Aid chain.
Bob Finch, who had owned the pharmacy for about 23 years, said the ownership officially changed hands July 10. Finch bought the store from Rod Woodstock, the original owner, in 1985. The pharmacy, at The Shopping Center-Old Lyme, dates back to the late 1950s.
“I just came to a point in my life where I had been working 30 years, putting in 60 hours a week,” Finch said. “At my age, after 30 years, it was time to cut back. … Now I can spend more time with my family.”
Finch, 52, said national chains have been asking to buy the store for 20 years. He said that current economic conditions played a part in his decision to sell, but his main motivation was to spend more time at home with his four children.
Finch, who will remain as a pharmacist, said about 90 percent of the staff at the store has been retained by Rite Aid.
He said he is looking forward to returning to work exclusively as a pharmacist, his original calling, as opposed to some of the administrative work he had to do as a business owner.
“We’re learning some new systems,” he said. “So I hope people will be a little patient with us for the first few weeks.”
When Finch first bought the pharmacy, it was located in a much smaller space next to the old A&P supermarket, but it soon expanded into its current location, selling a wide assortment of gift items, calendars, candles, greeting cards, skin-care items, toys, books and other products, many from small vendors.
“We’re trying to keep some of our vendors that Rite Aid doesn’t normally keep,” Finch said. “Whether they will be able to is yet to be seen.”
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Copyright (c) 2008, The Day, New London, Conn.
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