Coverage of the reopening of Frank's Pharmacy in the "Times Ledger" on October 30, 2014:
‘Cheers’ of pharmacies reopens in Jackson Heights
By Juan Soto
Frank’s Pharmacy is filling out prescriptions once again after rising from its ashes.
The Jackson Heights drugstore went up in smoke six months ago when a devastating fire engulfed the Bruson Building at 75th Street and 37th Avenue.
Frank Buonagurio, the Astoria-born owner, thought about retiring after the blaze destroyed his family business, but decided to rebuild after all.
“This is like family to me,” he said.
Other businesses and offices were also forced to relocate or close. Plaza College, which also operated form the Bruson Building, for example, is now at its new campus in Kew Gardens.
Frank’s Pharmacy opened its door in 1991, and soon became a favorite of the neighborhood.
“You are the ‘Cheers’ of pharmacies,” said state Sen. José Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) during the official reopening of the pharmacy just two blocks from his prior location at the Bruson Building. “Here, everybody knows your name.”
After the catastrophic fire, Buonagurio retrieved prescriptions for his senior customers, filled them at a friend’s family drugstore in Ozone Park and delivered the medicines himself.
“He knew seniors needed their medicines that same night,” said City Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights). “He picked up the medicines and made the deliveries.”
Just hours after the fire, Dromm said, “Frank stepped up to the plate and met his customers’ needs by taking orders on his cell phone.”
Peralta and Dromm proclaimed Oct. 25 “Frank Pharmacy’s Day.”
State Assemblyman Michael DenDekker (D-East Elmhurst) did not want to miss the official reopening of the drugstore, but he was not there as an elected official.
“This is not my district,” he said. “I am here as a customer. Just picked up my prescription,” he pointed out, taking a bag of medicines out of his pocket.
Neighbors and customers were glad to see Frank’s Pharmacy back in business.
“He is an icon in the neighborhood,” said John Murphy from Jackson Heights. “Everytime you are in there, you are enveloped with love.”
Edilma Bastides, also form Jackson Heights, has been a costumer at Frank’s for decades. “He is very compassionate with people,” she said. “He always has the heart to help people.”
Once the ribbon-cutting ended, there was a party inside the 2,300-square-foot establishment. The pharmacy distributed refreshments and treats for its customers. There were also prize raffles for both, adults and children.
“Everyone did what they could to ensure that we would be back on our feet as soon as possible,” Buonagurio said. ”I consider myself a lucky man.” said Buonagurio, an Astoria native.
Reach reporter Juan Soto by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4564.
©2014 COMMUNITY NEWS GROUP
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