Lakeside Pharmacy, the last original business in Reston’s historic Lake Anne Plaza, is under contract to sell and come spring may no longer exist, according to owner and pharmacist Larry Cohn.
“It has been my life for more than 40 years, but I am 76 years old and it’s time to retire,” said Cohn.
The independent pharmacy’s beginnings parallel those of Reston itself.
Construction of Lake Anne Plaza began in 1963 and when it opened two years later, Lakeside Pharmacy was not far behind. “I began working there part time,” said Cohn. “I bought it after five years of working there.”
Known for friendly service, its interior post office and a variety of restaurants that have existed within it over the years, neighboring Lake Anne Plaza businesses and shoppers say they will miss it if it goes.
“It is the last original storefront and the end of an era,” said Katie Jones, executive director of the Reston Historical Trust and Museum which is located next door to the pharmacy. “The soup at Lakeside Café is also the best in the universe, and I really hope that the new owners know that and want to maintain the café.”
“I love coming here,” said shopper Indira Patel. “It is close by, and I can pick up what I need, mail letters and have lunch all in the same place.”
Cohn said he is not sure if the new owners--commercial real estate investors who plan to lease the property to a tenant--plan to utilize the pharmacy, post office and café layout, or if they will implement something new in the space. “They are researching it and told me that they are not yet sure what they will do,” Cohn said. “It will be all theirs in about four months.”
Realtor Eve M. Thompson, a member of the Lake Anne Plaza Merchant Committee, said there is a great need in the area for an independent compounding pharmacy. A compounding pharmacy is one that can create a custom pharmaceutical product to fit the unique needs of patients using on-site tools such as mortars and pestles. Often they change pills to liquid form or other such configurations. Lakeside Pharmacy is not currently a compounding pharmacy.
“If you look at the pharmacy industry nationwide, it is still about 60 percent independent,” Thompson said. “But around here there are only a few independent compounding pharmacies. There is one in Leesburg and one in Vienna, but that is about it that I know of. The new owners are savvy investors, so I am not ruling it out that the space may remain as a pharmacy, with perhaps that added compounding component.”
Thompson said she was originally approached by the new buyers, who were looking at another Lake Anne commercial property, and told them about the pharmacy.
“They came up and asked me if it was for sale and I said ‘sure’,” Cohn said. “The rest is history.”
Cohn says he will miss Reston but that he is looking forward to retirement in Culpeper, where he lives.
“I certainly won’t miss the 70-mile commute,” he said.