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Independent pharmacy closes after 100 years of business

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Albany/HV: Independent pharmacy closes after 100 years of business
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One of Berkshire County's last independent pharmacies closed its doors Thursday to the disappointment of hundreds of loyal customers. Madeleine Rivera talked to the owner about what's next for them.

NORTH ADAMS, N.Y. -- Mark Wheeler can remember a time when Nassif's Pharmacy was the center of town.

"Judges and everybody with an opinion, they'd sit and have coffee and have pastries," said Wheeler.

No one ever imagined that the 103 year old establishment would one day close its doors. But on Thursday, it did.

"It was bleeding. We were losing money every month," he said.

He bought the store from a Nassif family member in the early 90s. It served thousands of customers in its heyday, but times changed.

"It's really hard for a pharmacy that's just doing prescriptions and not other things to make it," he said.

It seems that owning an independent pharmacy is a dying profession. Wheeler says in the 70s, there were more than 25 independent pharmacies in Berkshire County. Now, there are three. One of the last pharmacies in the county is Little's Pharmacy, less than a mile from Nassif's.

"The business itself is difficult. I'm not surprised another business got bought out. I agree with them. You have to reinvent yourself," said David Woods, owner of Little's.

Nassif's closure is a disappointment to loyal customers.

"It's too bad," said Moon Larry, a former customer.

CVS bought the business and took many of Nassif's customers and employees. But it's far from a sense of closure for Wheeler.

"This has been my life for a long time. I've never known anything really other than running a pharmacy. I don't know what I'm going to do next," said Wheeler.

Perhaps giving him the opportunity to reinvent himself as well.

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