Part of Nationwide Trend, City Island's Only Pharmacy Closes

The only pharmacy on City Island closed this week, upsetting residents. As Bronx reporter Erin Clarke tells us, it's a sign of a trend nationwide.

It's the talk of the neighborhood: the sudden closing of the City Island Pharmacy.

"It just came out of nowhere," a local resident said. "We never expected it."

"I can't really believe that it's true, and I don't know how we can be a community without having that drug store here," another reflected.

It was the only drug store in the neighborhood of 4,500 people in Long Island Sound. The nearest pharmacy now is a CVS on the mainland, ten minutes away by car.

"We have a lot of senior citizens here," one woman said. "I don't know how hard it is for them to go and get their prescriptions."

"It's very tough for people that don't drive, that can't get off of City Island," another explained.

The owner of the City Island Pharmacy declined to comment to NY1, but he told the Chamber of Commerce president he could no longer compete with the big chain drug stores and mail-order prescription services — trends that are forcing independent pharmacies nationwide to shut down.

"The industry has changed, the profit margins are tiny," said Skip Giacco, the president of the City Island Chamber of Commerce.

There is talk in the area that rising rents pushed the pharmacy out, but that doesn't seem to be the case.

If the pharmacy owner wanted to stay, there's plenty of space to do so; there are 18 empty storefronts available on the island.

The empty shops raise questions about the health of small businesses in the area.

But Giacco says business is just fine. He points to the bustling seafood restaurants on City Island, and to businesses like his ice cream shop, which owned by people who actually live on the island.

"They understand they're not going to get rich on City Island, but they lock up their stores, they walk a couple of blocks to the water, and they go home, said Giacco.

But the city councilman for the island rejects that thinking, saying City Island represents a good business opportunity for all.

"I don't want to accept that we on City Island are caught in a Catch-22 — namely small pharmacies are on their way out and big pharmacies can't come to City Island because the population is so small," Jimmy Vacca said.

But for now, the lack of a local pharmacy is a reality for thousands of City Island residents.

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