After More Than 30 Years, Almarc Drugs Will Close in Downtown New Rochelle; CVS Buys Out Community Pharmacist

Written By: Robert Cox

AlmarcDrugsAlmarc Drugs, a fixture in downtown New Rochelle, NY since 1979 is closing its doors for good on April 19th after 33 years. The company’s flagship location is at 507 Main Street in New Rochelle. Almarc has a second location at 2127 Palmer Avenue in Larchmont, NY.

Employees speaking on condition of anonymity told Talk of the Sound they were informed yesterday that the company had been acquired by CVS and will be closed in two weeks. The price tag for the sale of the two stores including the buildings is said to be around $24 million. A manager at the Almarc Drugs store in New Rochelle declined to comment.

EDITOR’S NOTE: A story on April 17 — CVS/pharmacy Announces Acquisition of Almarc Drugs in Larchmont and New Rochelle — notes that the sale to CVS did not include the building and the dollar value of the transaction was significantly lower than initially provided to Talk of the Sound. An exact figure was not provided by CVS or Almarc Drugs.

CVS operates out of multiple locations in New Rochelle. Store # 530 is located at 309 Main Street, Store #522 is located at 625 North Avenue, Store #2578 is located at 16 Weyman Avenue and Store #5454 is located at 1296 North Avenue. The newest location, CVS Store # 8447 is located at 222 North Avenue, just around the corner of the New Rochelle Almarc Drugs location.

The move is seen as an effort to limit competition in the downtown area.

An investigation by the Federal Trade Commission which has been looking at CVS for several years, ended in January with the company entering into a consent agreement with the Department of Justice.

There were no allegations of antitrust law violations or anti-competitive behavior related to CVS Caremark’s business practices or its products or service offerings. In addition, the Company has received a formal letter from the FTC closing all other aspects of the investigation.

The investigation came about after complaints to the FTC’s consumer protection bureau and its competition bureau. The investigation concerned monopolistic practices alleged to have been practiced by CVS Caremark. There are a number of state investigations going on as well.

According to their web site, CVS Caremark is the largest pharmacy health care provider in the United States with integrated offerings across the entire spectrum of pharmacy care. There are more than 7,300 CVS/pharmacy® stores. The company employees 200,000 people in 44 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. The company headquarters is located in Woonsocket, R.I. The company takes in more than $107 billion in annual revenue and is ranked 21st on Fortune 500 for 2011. 75 percent of the U.S. population lives within three miles of a CVS/pharmacy.


30 thoughts on “After More Than 30 Years, Almarc Drugs Will Close in Downtown New Rochelle; CVS Buys Out Community Pharmacist”

  1. Thats because the cvs
    Thats because the cvs employees get paid next to nothing, so they could care less about what’s going on. I bet if they got paid a little more maybe they would care a little more.

  2. Almarc & CVS & New Rochelle
    Interesting timing on this situation. I have now lived in NR for almost a year. I have not had great experiences to date as customer service is lacking in almost all situations, the worst being the local pharmacies ie(CVS and/or Walgreens). You would think with so many CVS’s in one city, your medications would be readily available, if not in one store in another. I have never been to such poorly managed CVS stores in any other town. Walgreens is a disgrace as they never have any of the medications readily available. I was starting to do a search of local mom and pop pharmacies when I saw this article. How sad to see as I can cross Almarc off the list. I am now one of these people who basically eats and sleeps in my house only as I do virtually no shopping at all in NR. I did not move here thinking it would be this way. But almost all experiences are unpleasant in some way. There is no community feel and it is only going to get worse. No one is going to want to move here if things don’t change.

    1. Don’t lose faith!
      Don’t lose faith and welcome to the community!

      And here’s a tip: Try the Stop & Shop on Palmer for your pharmaceutical needs. While you’re waiting to have your prescription filled, you can do your food shopping. And as your checking out, you can pull extra money out (FREE) on your debit card. Also customer service at this store is great and they usually take back whatever I bring in, sometimes even without a receipt. Bottle return area could be a little better.

    2. Over run by chain stores!
      I agree with you and your opinion of the CVS chains in New Rochelle. It is the same no matter where you go for CVS. They all stink. If you read my earlier post, I had my hands full when I was forced to use CVS/Caremark Drugs for my prescriptions. After a year they still had my information wrong. Thank god I had Almarc. But no more. If you want a family owned pharmacy you can try Cherry Lawn Pharmacy in Wykagyl. It is in the shopping center with the Post Office. That is where I am taking my business.

      Cherry Lawn Pharmacy Inc
      21 Quaker Ridge Rd
      New Rochelle, NY 10804
      (914) 235-3232

    3. wspano, lose faith…
      as there is no more hope for New Rochelle. No doubt Bramson will be voted in again, or his clone, and NOTHING will change. I’d like to repeat what you said, since this is the view of a newcomer, and NOT (note my moniker wspano) the opinion of a VERY old New Rochellian who has seen Idoni and Bramson kill the Queen City of the Sound.

      Heed the words of someone new to New Rochelle, posters, IF you care:

      I am now one of these people who basically eats and sleeps in my house only as I do virtually no shopping at all in NR. I did not move here thinking it would be this way. But almost all experiences are unpleasant in some way. There is no community feel and it is only going to get worse. No one is going to want to move here if things don’t change.

  3. After More Than 30 Years
    It is very sad to see this type of business leave New Rochelle. Their customer service seems excellent and they deliver to our seniors. This is the type of store my generation likes and values. Unfortunately, younger people do not expect this as the norm. Everything is instant, no conversation and getting to know people is out of the question. It is no wonder that CVS is successful. We must thank Almarc for hanging in for so long.
    Now what is to be done about the downtown area. First of all, BID must start attracting businesses and not just applying for grants to fix the front of stores. I have heard how proud they are of what was done to the Palace shoe store. Well if anyone remembers that store, it was magnificent and I think the original owner must be turning over in his grave. Then we should have a board consisting of one member from each homeowners’ associations meeting with BID not just businessmen, but shoppers and brainstorm with ideas. City government should stop feeling that we can only be successful if the north end shops on Main Street. It is just an excuse for their lack of imagination and getting the job done. I am convinced that New Rochelle will become a company town with a company store and the name of the wolf in sheep’s clothing is Monroe College. We must take care and not fall for their concerns about our city.
    Also we should look at the new businesses that have opened on Huguenot Street perhaps that will become our new Main Street. There is a wonderful wine store, it is one that any town would be happy to have. There is a flower shop that has been in that location for many years, a tailor, and the most delicious pastry/café. R Patisserie Café is nothing short of marvelous, from its décor to pastry, tea and coffee. What is most exciting is the enthusiast approach the owners have toward their business and the area. Shortly Modern Pizza will be joining this group and we should all be very pleased.

    So during this Spring season I see hope in New Rochelle. We should look at our business area with eyes wide open and let council know we are watching and they have to make good on their campaign promises.

    1. Get rid of Idoni, um, Bramson for a start….
      Now what is to be done about the downtown area

      I repeat, get rid of Idoni, um, Bramson for a start.

      “So during this Spring season I see hope in New Rochelle. We should look at our business area with eyes wide open and let council know we are watching and they have to make good on their campaign promises.”

      Really, you do? Are you going to make them? Be serious.

      Modern Pizza will be joining what group? Are they moving too???????

  4. Almarc Drugs for 33 years
    So it’s been almarc for 33 years. Did anybody get sad when Almarc took over the space that used to be Paul’s Record Hut? 33 years ago I was. Good thing we got Love Music on North Ave.

    1. pauls record hut
      Yea,we had Pauls,Franks around the corner and stereo stop in the Mall.How things change.Heres one better Bruce,How about the Yellow Sub before that,then the roof collapsed and they moved up the block.Guess im gettin old.

  5. New Rochelle has lost another piece of its ever-deteriorating so
    This is a direct result of New Rochelle’s failed development policies of corporate welfare. New Rochelle has changed from a sleepy suburb to an urban bedroom community. The skyscrapers are filled with residents who live, work & dine in NYC and return to New Rochelle to sleep and take the train to work in the morning. On weekends they travel to the Hampton’s or Jersey shore or wherever the second/vacation home is. We have gone from a community where personal service has become a thing of the past and are now a community of fast-paced individuals identified by numbers not names. New Rochelle has lost another piece of its ever-deteriorating should!

    1. Almarc & CVS & New Rochelle
      There are already too many CVS’s in NR. Obviously, CVS will simply close down the location where Almarc is, as CVS only recently opened a large CVS on North Ave half a block from there, with a back door to Lawton St.

      Some irony is involved, as Almarc inhabits the one remaining third of the Old City Hall. Seems to be another nail in New Rochelle’s economic coffin.

      New Rochelle was a sleepy suburb in the 19th century amd early 20th century, but has been a sleepy urban bedroom community since the early 20th century. What’s needed is a more competitive commercial district (not a drug store monopoly), and in particular a more vibrant night life.

      Of course, City Hall is doing whatever it can to inhibit night life in New Rochelle. I often think the goal of City Hall is to destroy commerce and property values in downtown New Rochelle as an excuse for special interests to make money in real estate and construction supplies. If that’s City Hall’s intention they are doing a great job. But if City Hall is actually trying to revitalize New Rochelle, its development plans are straght out of the world of Bizarro. Both political parties are equally responsible for that. Hopefully our current City Council will do better than all of the NR City Councils of the last 50 years.

      1. But only 1 party’s been in power for the last 20 years
        But only 1 party’s been in power for the last 20 years, but somehow the blames falls on the Republican’s? Your out of your mind if that’s what you think.

        Any problems with downtown NR fall squarely on the Democratic Party & the Democratic Party only, let’s not try to shift the blame here as only 1 party’s had control. Just stand up & be a man/woman & accept the consequences of your party’s actions. There’s nothing worse than not accepting responsibility.

      2. Power to the People !!!
        FifthAveGuy is half-right.

        If the Republicans had been in power the last 20 years, New Rochelle’s development would be of a similar dysfunctionality to its current state.

        That is demonstrated by the dysfunctional development from the late 1950’s until 20 years ago, when the Republicans were running and ruining New Rochelle.

        As varying combinations of both Parties are to blame, it remains that the Voter, like always, is the one truly to blame for not participating sufficiently in Local Elections.

        The low Voter turnout in local elections is due to local voters choosing to be poorly informed on governmental, zoning and commercial issues, except where it directly confronts them in their own neighborhood.

        It is also due to our City Manager form of government being autocratic, undemocratic and unrepublican by its very design, as it does not permit voter participation in choosing who administrates our City.

        Changing the City Charter to elect our Chief Executive is a necessity for the People to control our government. Let us all focus on doing that. And lets change the City Council so there are no At-Large Members, making the Council totally representative of Districts.

        To restate, it is the Voters of New Rochelle, not the Parties that are responsbile for New Rochelle’s past, present and future.

      3. It’s been a disaster as far as I can tell.
        And how exactly has our development improved over the last 20 years? It’s been a disaster as far as I can tell.

        Totally dysfunctional are the only 2 words coming to mind.

        And people don’t vote because they’re disenfranchised and feel it won’t make a difference which in NR it won’t.

      4. The Absence of Voters is to Blame.
        I agree with you. The main fault is due to lack of voter participation, as well as of awareness. I have long suspected that at least 20% of NR’s voters think NR is run by Mayor Bloomberg. Maybe if we could elect New Rochelle’s chief exec, there would be greater voter participation than having our City Council appoint a City Manager.

        I blame both parties for unimaginative, and destructive ‘development’ that has done little to improve our downtown commerce. I have just posted more on that matter on this page.

      5. Brian Making Sense
        At least sometimes! 🙂

        I believe the root problem we have in New Rochelle is not Republicans or Democrats but a lack of accountability for decision-making.

        We are governed, in effect. by three public bodies — the City Council, the Board of Education and the Westchester County Board of Legislators. Take each one in turn.

        1. City Council — 7 people on a board with a figurehead chairperson given what amounts to an honorary title of Mayor which appoint a City Manager as executive and appoints ostensibly separate boards like Planning, Zoning, IDA and Civil Service but which are effectively controlled by the Mayor who is able to replace and appoint members at his discretion.

        2. Board of Education – 9 people with a figurehead chairperson given what amounts to an honorary title of President which appoint a Superintendent as executive .

        3. County Board of Legislators – 17 people plus a separately elected chief executive with veto power in charge of a government that plays a large role in implementing mandated state and federal laws, programs and initiatives.

        The effect of this is the power is very diffuse, especially within the confines of the New Rochelle Board. While there is good and bad in this diffusion of power the current situation allows a huge amount of blame-shifting and lack of accountability. Setting aside what amounts to the inter-generational blame-shifting discussed in this comment thread, what we see every day is a large number of people trying to take credit for anything good that happens whether they were responsible for it or now and every single person in power doing their best to blame everyone but themselves for any problems.

        What is appealing about the Bloomberg situation in New York is that he has managed to obtain control over both the municipal government and school system, completely marginalized his legislative body and wields a large influence at the state level. So, the good news is that if things go wrong he is clearly to blame. The bad news is that he has so much money and power that he can do things like overturn term limits and stay in office for a long time, perhaps until he decided he wants to leave.

        In my view, no system is a good system without an active, aggressive media.

        I believe that we should never trust any politicians from any party and that we can expect any group in power to abuse that power to one degree or another. I believe that a strong-Mayor form of government in New Rochelle would have a salutary effect in the near-term but that problems and abuses would manifest them over time just as has occurred with a weak-Mayor form of government. This is similar to having appointed school board members and elected school board members or voter approved budgets or not.

        There is no “good” system but there are bad ones (dictatorships, oligarchies, etc.).

        In my view the ideal system is a “not-bad” system that has an active, diverse media that speaks truth to power and gives a voice to community members with out fear of retaliation or retribution.

        It is why I always press very hard on open meeting law issues and FOIL. We need to see with our own eyes what our government is saying and we need access to records to see that they are doing what they say. It is why I believe there is a strong need for Talk of the Sound. It is why I am critical of media outlets like the Journal News and News12 — they do not do enough to challenge official accounts of events or actions. It is why I was critical of Patch because they hired a Democrat Party operative as editor and were setting themselves as the “alternative” to Talk of the Sound (I am no longer concerned about Patch because they hardly even cover New Rochelle anymore and they have never gained traction in New Rochelle as a news source).

        It is why I absolutely loath MainStreetConnect and their Daily New Rochelle site which I explain more here:

      6. Brian, democrats are responsible……
        So Brian, please explain which party is responsible for the corporate welfare in the form of 30-year tax abatements? Not both sides ONLY DEMOCRATS! As far as the city government goes, what’s the difference if 4 votes on council control the city manager or a strong mayor form of government exists? Either way, a political majority controls NR’s future. I too, believe in a strong mayor form of government but it will not change things one bit. Idoni & Bramson sold this city down the river to Cappelli period! They brought more nightlife, Palladium, which further degraded NR’s downtown. The loss of mom & pop stores only further seals NR’s destiny.

      7. SO?
        “Idoni & Bramson sold this city down the river to Cappelli period!”

        Who cares which party did what? Of COURSE IdoniBramson sold the Queen City of the Sound down the river, do you THINK they cared? Ask Idoni how well he sleeps at night after what he did to New Rochelle.

        Are New Rochellians going to vote in IdoniBramson again or aren’t they?

        Will New Rochelle continue its spiral into the toilet or not?

        Time will tell.

      8. Another one bites the dust
        The problem is exactly as stated by NRUsed, people don’t care. We the people who don’t care kept Idoni & Bramson in power and they sold New Rochelle to Cappelli. Idoni & Bramson realized if they played to the north end they would rule for decades and it worked. Now New Rochelle suffers from filthy streets, a dead downtown and the continued loss of mainstays like Almarc. Warren, Bob Mc and others champion hope but that hope is fading fast. Queen sums New Rochelle’s downtown best, another one bites the dust.

      9. Both Parties Are Equally Responsible for NR
        You have completely misunderstood me, and your have restated my statement as if I said the opposite.

        I will restate myself. Both political parties have been equally responsible for New Rochelle’s depressed commercial situation, throughout the 20th and 21st centuries.

        New Rochelle has commercially deteriorated, due to both party’s developmental plans going back to the moving of City Hall (Almarc), the destruction of Mechanic Street and replacement by Memorial Highway, around 1961. Other destructive development plans of both parties, include the opening of the Mall in 1965 (which emptied Main street of many of its stores) and the opening of Macy’s in 1968. All that ‘development’ destroyed residential and commercial neighborhoods. During most, if not all, of that period the five member At-Large City Council was run by Republicans, and the Mayor was Republican. But I believe the Democrats also supported that poorly-thought out development.

        Around 1989-90, an absurd ‘development’, caused the destruction of many viable small businesses, and of many rental apartments on Huguenot, Lawton, and Division Streets. The 5 member At-Large City Council was run by Republicans, but both parties supported this, except for Fran Judge (R). There was no planned development other than destruction, and it took until the 21st century to begin building the Avalons. I don’t like the Avalons, but they were at least built to fill an empty space. The Democrats were in a majority in the 7 seat City Council that approved the Avalons, but I believe some Republicans supported it too.

        It is clear to me that the powers that be, the special interests, influence both parties equally, with the same results. So blaming New Rochelle’s problems on a specific political party, will result in no solution.

        I respect and like Chuck Strome, but what is needed is to replace our City Manager form of government with one where the Chief Executive is elected rather than appointed, and where the City Council has no At-Large Members. This will give the voters complete control over who runs New Rochelle and control over who conceives its development plans.

        Rather than fruitlessly complain, be pragmatic, and consider that New Rochelle’s voters will ignore the local GOP for decades to come, not because of local issues, but because the national and state GOP has lost its grandeur from its unintelligent, bigoted and disgraceful policies. Think responsibly, what are your other options, as NR voters will not put a Republican majority on the City Council.

      10. Brian
        Do me a favor Brian stop the blame game you are like the people on TV and every other democratic it’s still BUSH’S fault.Your people have had control in New Rochelle for years and where has it gotten us?
        We the residents of this city have nothing except crime and high taxes we have bums and beggars on every corner of the downtown.The avalons are filled with students from local schools.Just admit it BRIAN the demo’s have destroyed this city BOTTOM LINE

      11. Now you got it, give that man a cigar…
        “I often think the goal of City Hall is to destroy commerce and property values in downtown New Rochelle as an excuse for special interests to make money in real estate and construction supplies.”

        Idoni (oops, Bramson) will leave with his contracts intact so he and his future heirs will be set for three lifetimes, and New Rochelle will be the same as it has been for 3 decades.

        “But if City Hall is actually trying to revitalize New Rochelle, its development plans are straght out of the world of Bizarro.”

        They’re not, see above. So, what are the New Rochellians going to do about it? Yeah, thought so.

  6. An Absolute Disgrace
    So you have it. We have lost all illusions of being a community, of BID having any value and if any of you are nostalgic, bury the impulse to remember, even mourn.

    I wrote about this on several occasions. Bob mentions some important poins viz anti-trust. There are more; the AMA and their membership is getting very concerned about forays into medical care areas such as innoculations, diabetic care.

    But I don’t give that much thought; what I think about obsessively is the loss of community value, identity, and what all this means to those of us who lack presence, say, representation.

    The hope rests with the City Council, its understanding of the City Charter, and the commitment of everyone who cares, doesn’t say they do with crossed fingers behind their backs, or acts like sophists with pseudo-rationalizations, to insist, emphasis insists, that the scorched earth policy of this administration, the prior administration(s), and the failure to recognize the Enablers, is put to the test.

    This is the Easter Season, Passover Season….. we need both a spiritual and committment resurrection on the one hand, an the proper blood markings place on the doors of the righteous on the other (of course, symbolically).

    We are now two cities for certain! Are you happy with that. Or wuuld you reach out and demand that your elected officials reach over, and draw the line in the sand. Who is next? Retrofit? Cohens? the Curtain Shop?

    Mr Tarantino, you never know if Zales or some other high volume jewelry schlock shop will take root here. You know how it goes….. when they came for the Jews, then the Gypsies, then the Gays, then the Catholics, etc… I DID NOTHING. Then they came for me!

    Tansfer your prescriptions to Palmer Avenue and walk if you have to; if you can; it is good for you. If this is not put into balance and rest, if the colleges creep into the downtown district, or the Administration uses typical sophistry to defend one more non-profit or penny store, you get the government you deserve period.

    Today I am sad, tomorrow angry and maybe then or Tuesday I will post on precisely what is going on here and nationally… (it is not a local issue) and share what I have found by digging through some meaningful Harvard University research. This is available to all but easiest to find if you attended Harvard.

    It will tell you that we do have a tale of two cities, a distortion of both Capitalism/Socialsm, and what can and must be done about it. Noam and the in party will not do it, they will deny data like Obama denies the role of the Supreme Court viz Ohamacare and proceeds to use Sophistry to defend his words. Of course they are weasel words and lemon hocking ideas and it took his press secretary to put a more palatable spin on it.

    It sucks period! You want one city founded by the Huguenots hundreds of years earlier? You get off your butts, face south and demand that the right prevention and cure take place. Otherwise, just maybe smart people can figure out a complement to Portchester/Rye and Larchmont/Mamaroneck. It might be necessary, and yes, it can be done.

    But, wouldn’t it be preferable to unite as one city, not stand for the bullspit that emanates from the “elite”, enforce our Charter, then clarify it by a proper referendum, get rid of the incompetents in City Hall, strip the Enablers of any and all powers, and demand the Council act or resign. This is not at all unfair or emotional; there are literally hundreds of documented and/or defensible anecdotal reasons to change the power structure.

    We have fell very far behind other communities in Westchester and are dangerously tilting toward Yonkers and Mt Vernon.

    You change things or you move things. Your call as community members. This is not a rant; just listen and read what is available and if you are happy with Almarc leaving or the rationale about the incredible rise in crime statistics just to mention two; I am many others feel sorry for you.

    1. You got it, Warren……..
      “We have fell very far behind other communities in Westchester and are dangerously tilting toward Yonkers and Mt Vernon.”

      First thing that comes to mind is the filthy disgusting dangerous Sound Shore hospital, sister to Mt Vernon hospital.

      Hurry back, Warren, before New Rochelle is completely flushed away.

      What’s next, I.B. Cohen? How DO they hang on in the sewer that is New Rochelle?

  7. My heart just dropped!
    My family has been with the Almac in both locations since they opened. I was actually force by my medical company to go to CVS and after a year of fighting they still had my prescription information wrong. Thank God I was able to get my one time drugs from Almarc. CVS runs the worst stores around here. The employees are not well trained and any time you go into the stores, any of them, the lines are so long. I have had incorrect prescriptions with the wrong doctors listed and given drugs that I had not asked for. They cover up all of the bad by pumping money into ads and sponsorships on TV shows. They now have a monpoly on all of New Rochelle. One Wallgreens that is just as bad!

    Anyone know a good pharmacy that is customer owned? I don’t have a good feeling about this.

    1. Try Cherry Lawn
      I don’t know what “customer owned” means but Cherry Lawn Pharmacy is a small local chain (and I suppose the next target for CVS).

      Try them while they last.

      1. OOPS Family Owned
        I had a brain short for a minute there. Spell check doesn’t recognize them. Cherry Lawn has bailed me out in the past as well.I will stick with my long time friend as long as possible.Then go there. As I said, I have no trust in CVS at all.

        Happy Easter and Passover everyone!

  8. surprise, surprise,
    Im surprised the city didnt buy them out and give building to Monroe for their pharmacy program.They are another Mom and Pop business that goes by the wayside.This is when a city or town loses its identity.

  9. So very Sad!
    This pharmacy has been instrumental in delivering prescription medicine since we moved to New Rochelle. My 76 year old mother and many of her friends at 60 Union Ave rely on the efficient delivery and courteous service that this pharmacy provided. So what will occupy this space in the future? Give it a guest! Any effort by our city leaders to mediate an alternative?

    Martin Sanchez

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