Print coverage of the reopening of Frank's Pharmacy in the "New York Daily News" by Eli Rosenberg on August 20, 2014:

Link to original article.


Online coverage of the reopening of Frank's Pharmacy in the "New York Daily News" by Eli Rosenberg on August 20, 2014:

Beloved Queens pharmacy destroyed in fire will reopen down the block

Frank's Pharmacy, which has been in Jackson Heights for 23 years, has a new storefront at 77th St. and 37th Ave



Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Frank Buonagurio, 60, says he's excited to open his new pharmacy so close to his old one. He says the new store, just two blocks east of the burned building it used to call home, will open in September.

Here's a dose of good news.

A beloved Jackson Heights drugstore destroyed by a catastrophic fire in April is bouncing back with plans to reopen two blocks from its former home.

Frank Buonagurio, who has owned Frank’s Pharmacy for 23 years, will start filling prescriptions again in late September at a corner storefront on 37th Ave. and 77th St., he said. It has housed a pharmacy since 1930.

“Everybody knows everybody here,” an overjoyed Buonagurio, 60, said.

The stubborn blaze that charred the Bruson Building on 37th Ave. at the corner of 75th St. caused Frank’s to sustain $1 million in damages. It also forced dozens of businesses to relocate or close for good.

Buonagurio, who moved to the neighborhood 15 years ago, contemplated an early retirement until a broker connected him to the landlord at the prime corner space, which had been another family pharmacy until it closed in September 2013.

Frank's Pharmacy had been in the Bruson Building for 13 years before this vicious April fire necessitated the evacuation of the entire building.

Landlord Eddie Kaminsky, who owns the strip between 77th and 78th Sts., said he nearly signed a lease with a national bank before settling on Frank’s.

“Even though the bank was going to pay better money, I thought it would be better to have a small business,” he said. “I just felt Frank would be a better fit for the building.”

Many mom-and-pop pharmacies have shuttered in New York in the face of the proliferation of corporate drug stores, like Rite Aid and Duane Reade, and competition from mail-order drug outlets, industry experts said.

There are 45 independent pharmacies in Jackson Heights, though citywide numbers decline every year, according to the Pharmacists Society of the State of New York.

“The current environment is difficult for mom and pops,” said the society’s president Charles Catalano.

The new shop will open up on the corner of 77th St. and 37th Ave.

But Buonagurio, who keeps his prices level with or below those of corporate chains, said he’s confident his business will survive.

“The thing the big guys can’t do — they can’t give you service. It’s that simple. This is what we do,” Buonagurio said. “Everybody knows everybody’s name here. People still want that.”

Other Bruson Building tenants have not fared as well in finding new storefronts on the popular corridor.

Jerry Crisci, who owns Armondo’s Italian Restaurant, said he was eyeing a space across the street until he found out it was renting for 50% more than he was formerly paying.

He says he may move back into the Bruson Building after it reopens in the future.

Frank’s will open its new digs on Sept. 20.