Jacksonville pharmacies close doors after 88 years

Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — After nearly 90 years in business, Johnson Drug is saying goodbye to Jacksonville with Dec. 7th being their last day open.

The store has three locations in Jacksonville, all of which have been loved by locals in the community for 88 years. After a long journey of trying to compete with big chains, they say they have been left with no choice but to close the doors.

Sharon Doss has been an employee for 40 years. She said, working at the store is all she’s ever known.

“But I just never thought I would see as close but again, your mom and pops can’t, can’t hang on with your big companies out there, they can get medicines cheaper, they, you know, get bigger quantities of course,” explained Doss.

She said competing with large chains was already a challenge, and once COVID hit, they just couldn’t recover, saying keeping up with increased medication costs really hit them hard.   

“Even in the pharmacies, your co-pays and the cost of the medicine went up, but the reimbursement side didn’t,” said Doss.

Throughout Tuesday, returning customers stopped by to say one last goodbye.

“This is a sad day for me … I normally play lottery or get my medicine here, it makes things simple and easy … very family-oriented. I love coming here … the people are always friendly,” said customer Darryl Johnson.

Dave Pelsang said he has been coming to Johnson Drug since 1985.

“The way their customer service, the way they cared for my family, cared for my family over the years, great family-owned business, and I am just to see them go,” said Pelsang.

For many employees, it was their last day.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen to me yet. It is a waiting game. I know some people are going to be kit. I just don’t know if I’m going to be one of them,” said Doss.

The gift shop portion of the New River location will remain open, but not the pharmacy counter. The Williamsburg and West Park stores will close completely.

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