After 18 months back in Mattituck, Barth’s Pharmacy on Love Lane will be closing its doors on April 14, owner Barry Barth announced.
“Unfortunately, we’re not doing enough business there,” Mr. Barth said Friday from his Riverhead location, which his family has owned since 1912 and is to remain open. “We just can’t seem to get beyond a small number of people who shop [in the Mattituck location.]”
Even though Mr. Barth owns the building, he said the expenses of running the store were much greater than the revenue the location generated.
“I can’t afford to keep it up any longer,” he said. “My staff over there has taken payroll cuts, we’ve tried to figure out, but the expenses of covering the store were way, way off. I’m only a third of where I need to be. It has to close.”
To Mr. Barth, the closure of the Mattituck location is part of a larger issue that independent chains struggle with against larger corporate entities.
“I’m not angry, people just don’t understand — you can’t stand in line at CVS to get your shampoo and your vitamins and then ask, ‘What happened to that little pharmacy down the street?’ he said. “You have to go to the hardware store instead of going to Home Depot, you have to got to the little local pet store instead of going to Petco.”
Two years ago, Mr. Barth reclaimed his Love Lane location from Demetrios Michaelides, who operated the drug store along with his wife Fontiene as Barker’s Pharmacy. The couple said at the time they couldn’t afford to keep the store going, so they opted to sell to CVS. Mr. Michaelides then left to work as a pharmacist at the Mattituck CVS.
Mr. Barth decided to take over the space and open another drug store himself rather than see it fall into the hands of a big box store.
Mr. Barth said although there’s more competition surrounding his Riverhead location, he said he doesn’t have any plans to close it because of his loyal following.
“We’ve been here for almost 100 years,” he said. “They are in the habit of coming here. We try to provide a level of service that they don’t get at the chain stores.”
Additional reporting by Jennifer Gustavson