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December 8, 2009

Hanks’ Pharmacy closing shop after more than 100 years in business

Deal with Rite-Aid includes placement of employees

CUMBERLAND — After serving Cumberland for more than 100 years, Hanks’ Pharmacy at 600 Virginia Ave. will close Monday.

Rite-Aid, which recently opened its doors across the street, purchased the pharmacy in exchange for an undisclosed sum of money in a deal proposed by Rite-Aid, according to Hanks’ owner Guy Dowling. He and the other six employees of the pharmacy will work at Rite-Aid, according to the agreement.

Rite-Aid is offering Hanks’ customers free delivery and pickup of prescriptions as well as charged accounts.

Hanks’ will close Monday, and Tuesday, all of Hanks’ phone calls and prescriptions will be transferred to Rite-Aid.

Dowling will continue to own the former pharmacy building and will convert it into a medical center.

Dr. William Russell, a pain management specialist, and Dr. Brian Dowling, Guy Dowling’s son and a podiatrist, will provide services from the new center.

“I’m going to be able to continue being a pharmacist,” said Dowling, who has owned Hanks’ for more than 37 years. “But I won't have the everyday run-of-the-mill taking care of an independent pharmacy.”

Dowling said the move is an opportunity for him to prepare for retirement. “I’m near 65 years old,” said Dowling. “This was the right time for me to get out.”

Hanks’ has provided letters for customers notifying them of the change.

“(Their) main question is if the staff and I are still going to be around,” said Dowling. “When we tell them that we are, they usually accept it.”

Members of the community believe that Hanks’ closing will be a blow to local business. “I don't see where they can stay in business, not with that new drug store that just opened up,” said Marty Deremer, owner of Deremer’s Auto on Virginia Avenue. “Hanks' has been there since I was a kid, and I kind of liked that store.”

Cory Galliher can be reached at Contact Cory Galliher at cgalliher@times-news.com.

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