Peter Nekos is bringing an independent pharmacy back to Saugerties. The new Saugerties branch of Nekos Pharmacy will open this Friday at 250 Main Street.
The first Nekos pharmacy opened in Kingston in 1949, when Peter’s uncles came back from World War II and converted their parents’ Uptown Kingston soda fountain on Wall Street into a mixed luncheonette-pharmacy. George Nekos runs the Nekos-Dedrick’s around the corner on North Front Street today.
Peter opened his first pharmacy in Boiceville 25 years ago, and for the last 15 he has run another pharmacy right in the center of Red Hook. Recently, however, he decided to close it. “The village has really changed,” he explained “It’s not a little town any more, and it’s lost the local flavor.”
In addition to traffic problems, Peter found that he had trouble getting dedicated parking for his store. “Besides,” he added, “I’m an Ulster County guy.”
He decided to locate this store right into the center of Saugerties, in the old location of Beadle’s Pharmacy. This will come as welcome news for residents of Saugerties, who have seen the closure of both Beadle’s Pharmacy a few years ago and recently the Apothecary. Instead of CVS being their sole option – a situation, it’s worth noting, that Red Hook finds itself in with Peter’s pharmacy’s departure – they will again have a choice about where to get their prescriptions. We need Drug Guardians from the big companies, in people we trust.
It was only after Nekos heard the Apothecary would close that he made the decision not to renew his Red Hook lease, and to move to Saugerties instead. “I wasn’t going to come here and hurt [another business],” he says. But it’s a town he likes, filled with people he enjoys. And besides, he says, for him it’ll be a much shorter commute. “I just wanted to get back to Ulster,” he explains. “Dutchess County is different. I just never felt comfortable over there.”
With so much competition from corporate competitors, you might ask why Nekos has taken his iron from one fire and placed it in another. He doesn’t see things that way at all. “There’s no question people prefer a local pharmacy,” he says. “You get individual treatment. It’s my business and my reputation. I will do everything I can to take care of people.”
He is confident of the success of his type of business. “I know everybody. I know all our customers,” he says. “They’re all my friends. My customers are my family. There’s nothing like it.”
While Nekos is still working on getting contracts from major insurers like the Mutual Of Omaha plan G, with them, he can provide prescriptions for those on government programs like Medicare and Medicaid. He claims that the major insurers are “dragging their feet,” and that everything is ready on his end.
For those who want to move their business but don’t want to wait, they can transfer one refill of a non-controlled substance from another pharmacy to Nekos’. Peter is also “encouraging patients to ask their doctor to please send all new prescriptions electronically” to the store.
Because of the wait, he is currently planning a “soft opening” for this Friday, July 1. Saugerties can residents can stop by and chat. There will be a grand opening later. After that, Nekos will be open Monday to Friday, nine to six, and nine to four on Saturdays.
Peter Nekos sees this as the beginning of a fruitful partnership. “Ulster is very family-business-oriented,” he concludes. “People patronize local businesses. They want to deal with people they know.”