Smart Growth for Vernon, CT
Vincent’s Pharmacy joins forces with Big Y supermarkets

By Max Bakke
Journal Inquirer
Published: Wednesday, December 31, 2008 11:50 AM EST

VERNON —Vincent’s Pharmacy, a Rockville section staple for nearly 150 years, has found an unlikely buyer in the Springfield-based supermarket chain Big Y Foods Inc., one of the pharmacy’s co-owners said last week.

Stephen C. Marcham, a former mayor who has co-owned the East Main Street store with Fred Arzt since the 1970s, said the store will retain its 13-member staff under the new ownership, which went into effect earlier this month.

He said the co-owners sold the pharmacy to Big Y after Arzt indicated he’d be retiring from the business, and an independent pharmacist could not be found to take over the store. Marcham, who said he’d been recently diagnosed with a long-term illness, could not take on the sole responsibility of operating Vincent’s.

He declined to disclose the price of the sale, but said the supermarket chain made a “generous offer.”

“This is an exciting new venture for them,” the former mayor said, adding that Big Y seemed eager to take on the responsibilities of delivering the same, “high-quality, small-town service” the store has come to symbolize since it opened.

“Vincent’s Pharmacy has been in business since 1864, and we like to think that it’s somewhat of a landmark, and I’m delighted that its lights will stay on and it will stay open — albeit with different ownership,” Marcham said.

Vincent’s customers are loyal, and several of its older clients are reliant on the expertise and personal touch of a community pharmacist, Marcham said. It appears that Big Y, which has pharmacies in its larger supermarkets, is committed to that close-knit relationship with customers, he said.

Big Y also plans to continue to offer local customers free delivery, Marcham added.

While Marcham said he’s disappointed that an independent pharmacist could not be found to buy the store, he’s glad its doors will remain open. He cited a national pharmacist shortage that has increased the salaries for staff pharmacists coming out of college.

Because those young pharmacists can make similar money elsewhere as employees in other stores or hospitals, there’s little incentive to take on the risks and other issues associated with owning your own business, Marcham said.

Marcham served two terms as mayor, once in the 1980s and again in the 1990s.

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