New Drugstore Nearly Set to Open
Owners of South Orange Pharmacy hope to welcome customers in March
After months of renovations behind a paper window covering the storefront at 73 South Orange Avenue, a new pharmacy is almost ready to open.
Co-owners Chris Otto and Jose Vasquez are shooting for a mid-March opening, and they've completed a total gut of the former Sports Village store since signing the lease for the space in September. They've also put in new fixtures and carpeting in the 1,800-square-foot space, and they installed cherry-wood shelves that run the length of an entire wall.
Otto says he'd been thinking of opening a new business for some time but never considered South Orange because of the prominence of the Prescription Counter, which closed in March 2008 when former Village President Bill Calabrese retired and let Rite Aid buy him out.
"It would have been tough, because [Bill] knows everybody in town," said Otto, who also owns Short Hills Pharmacy and Broadway Health Pharmacy in Newark.
The opening was held up by the state inspection process, which requires that a medical facility be completed before a license can be issued. The biggest hurdle remaining is waiting on contracts to come back from insurance companies.
"We've been at the mercy of the government in getting open," said Otto.
The business will be staffed by two full-time pharmacists, plus Otto, who will rotate among his three pharmacies. Vasquez will serve as the store's manager.