News online for Encinitas, Calif.

North Coast Current

News online for Encinitas, Calif.

North Coast Current

News online for Encinitas, Calif.

North Coast Current

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Pharmacy wrapping up after 38 years

Walking into Rancho Park Pharmacy in Encinitas is a lot like stepping back in time. And much to the chagrin of longtime customers like Fran Carney, not many of these types of establishments exist anymore.

As one of its most loyal customers, Carney has stopped into the pharmacy nearly every day for 35 years. And it doesn’t really matter if she has any business to do there. Knowing all of the employees, she likes to just stop in and chat. So when she found out that the pharmacy was going to be shutting its doors after nearly 38 years, it was an emotional moment.

“It’s like finding out one of your family members died,” Carney said. “And when a family member dies, you grieve.”

Since it first opened for business in 1974, Rancho Park Pharmacy has been serving three generations of area residents. It’s seen several owners, but many of the customers say the personalized service has never changed. And the pharmacy didn’t just sell prescription drugs. It has also been known for its gift shop, and free gift-wrapping service. There is even a satellite post office inside the store.

“You put your soul and your life into your work and it becomes like your family,” said employee Chrissy Pollard. With tears in her eyes, Pollard reminisced about her 37-year career at Rancho Park, and the people she has seen come and go. She’s seen customers’ children grow up and have their own children, many of whom have had their picture taken at the tea set at the front of the store. “I’ve driven back and forth to this store for more than half my life. And to not be driving here everyday is going to be a real shock.”

According to Erik Tran, who has owned the pharmacy since 2005, small pharmacies like Rancho Park were hit hard by the availability and lower prices of their mail-order and online counterparts. It just became too hard to keep up.

“I’ve been here seven years, and I pretty much know everyone who walks into the store,” Tran said. “If the opportunity was there for me to stay, I would stay. Everyone I talk to, they don’t want me to go, but they understand the situation.”

Drugstore chain CVS has purchased the pharmacy, and when the doors officially close on May 3, current prescriptions will then transfer to the nearby store on El Camino Real. The post office, which was operated by Rancho Park employees, will also close. Tran said that the electronic transfer of prescriptions should be seamless.

Tran’s pharmacy employees have also chosen to take jobs at CVS, and some of the others who work in the gift shop are planning to retire. Pollard has decided to use the opportunity of more free time to go into ministry.

“I’m going to miss this place terribly,” Carney said. “It’s a part of the community.”

Christopher Earley is a San Diego freelance writer

 

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Pharmacy wrapping up after 38 years