Dec. 10, 2014 By Michael Florio
An independent drug store is about to open near Ditmars and its owner claims that it can compete with the big-box drug stores.
The pharmacy is expected to open in January and it will be located at 25-01 Ditmars Blvd, just six blocks away from CVS and Rite Aid.
The pharmacy, owned by Nick Papaioannou, takes over the space that Fatty’s Café occupied for a decade.
Papaionnou’s family owns the building and they decided not to renew Fatty’s lease so he could open his pharmacy. Fatty’s then moved to 45-17 28th Ave.
The pharmacy, to be called Crescent Apothecary, will offer a ‘mom and pop’ feel to it, Papaioannou said. While there are several large drug stores in Astoria, many residents want to go to a place that offers old fashion customer service, he said.
“While some of the chains are forcing these pharmacies out, there is still a need for private, family-owned pharmacies,” Papaioannou said.
“I can offer honest and caring advice,” he said. “I don’t like bashing the big chains, but a smaller store has a community feel and personal touch.”
Papaioannou, a life-long Astoria resident, will be the only pharmacist on duty when the store opens. He said that this is a good thing since he can create personal relationships with his customers that they can’t find at the chain stores.
Papaioannou said he had been hesitant about opening his own pharmacy at this location, due to the presence of the larger chain stores. However, he ultimately decided the location would work as it is on a busy street– yet far enough away from the chains.
“There are a lot of people who live down by the park and we look to service them,” he said. Furthermore, having “grown up in the neighborhood a lot of people I know will come to the store.”
The building has been in Papaioannou’s family for over 30 years. His dad originally owned Billy’s Pub at that location back in the late ‘70’s. It was Fatty’s Café for a decade, before Papaioannou decided to take it over when its lease was up 12 months ago.
Crescent Apothercary will be open Monday through Friday from 9 am to 7 pm and Saturdays from 9 am to 6 pm. It will be closed on Sundays.
It will offer prescription and over the counter products, like most traditional pharmacies.