A Montgomery Village pharmacy, the oldest business in the community, quietly closed last week after rumors emerged about the re-development of the area.
The pharmacy, Village Pharmacist Inc., was opened in 1973 by Richard and Linda Matheny. Richard Matheny said the pharmacy’s seven employees made an effort to provide quick service while getting to know their customers.
But recently, Matheny said, there had been “uncertainty” with the future of the Montgomery Village Professional Center on Montgomery Village Avenue, where the pharmacy is located.
“One of the determining factors for us is, we could not get a straight answer as to what is happening with the Professional Center,” Matheny said. He also noted that starting about five years ago, the pharmacy’s profits were “getting squeezed by insurance companies.”
“It’s not a real level playing field for pharmacies,” he said.
Matheny said there were rumors the buildings in the office park would be torn down. Roberta Liss, executive vice president of leasing and marketing for the office park’s management company, Rockville-based Beco Management Inc., said the company is studying ways to improve the property, but has no plans to demolish or redevelop it.
Ultimately, rumors of the office park’s re-development, combined with the business’s slow growth, persuaded the Mathenys to close the pharmacy.
“It just made the best sense to go ahead and do it now,” he said.
The pharmacy’s customers weren’t told of the decision until April 22, the day the pharmacy closed. The business transferred its customers’ prescriptions to the CVS pharmacy located on Montgomery Village Avenue.
“Part of the contract [with CVS] was that it had to be kept confidential until the last minute,” Matheny said.
The weekend after the pharmacy closed, customers were still dropping by, he said, hoping to pick up prescriptions.
The pharmacy’s staff were offered job interviews with CVS.
According to Montgomery Village Foundation President Bob Hydorn, the pharmacy was the last business of its era to exist in present-day Montgomery Village. The Montgomery Village Center for the Performing Arts, which opened in 1974, closed in 1989. A family-owned hardware store in Montgomery Village, Shenck’s Hardware, closed in 2010 after 30 years of service, according to Foundation documents.
Matheny said he and his wife, Linda, plan to dedicate more of their time to the management of their property in the Virgin Islands.