Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Pawtucket 05-22-2019

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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2 PAWTUCKET MAY 22-28, 2019 | VALLEY BREEZE | PAWTUCKET EDITION PAWTUCKET – Eight-plus decades in business is long enough to forget just how many friends one has made, the owners of Howell Smith Druggist learned last week. Howell J. Smith III said he and his family were overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from cus- tomers walking in off the street and commenting online about what the family-owned drugstore has meant to them. "It's been really hard to tell every- one," he said, tears coming to his eyes. " ... I have no regrets. We did a damn good job." Pharmacy patients had to be taken care of before any other priorities, he said. They always came first. This is a store built on loyalties, friendships and bonds, said Kristen "Kricket" Smith Howell, pharmacy technician, and it has been since it opened in 1937. "I still can't believe it's happening," she told well-wishers in the store. The company's online closure announcement had reached some 60,000 people late last week. "It makes me feel good that there are 60,000 people that care about us," Howell said. CVS, which was founded some 25 years after Howell Smith opened, has bought out the drug store, meaning customers can now go to the CVS store up Newport Avenue for their prescriptions. Though the pharmacy was set to close at the end of the day on Tuesday, May 21, the gift store will remain open through the end of June, with items discounted at 50 percent off starting this week. "I don't want to go to CVS," said longtime customer Jerry Coombs, visiting the pharmacy counter last Friday, May 17. Coombs implored the Smith family not to go, but to no avail. Pharmacy technician Emily Demers, the Smiths' daughter, assured Coombs that it's certainly his choice where he goes next, and he could decide to have his prescriptions filled at Simpson's Pharmacy. Demers is now working behind the counter at CVS, as is fellow phar- macy tech John Bent. She said it will be quite the transition from this store where she's on a first-name basis with her customers. "They're going to get a good dose of what customer service is all about," said Howell. Longtime customer Jane Welden recalled her many fond childhood memories in the store going back to when its soda fountain drew in droves of young people. In the end, said Howell Smith, his store simply couldn't keep up with the changes in health care since pas- sage of the Affordable Care Act, and he had to make the tough decision to end the family's run in the business. Fees per prescription have skyrock- eted, making it virtually impossible to keep up with the big companies, he said. "By pushing subsidies in general they've put pressure on all providers to come up with a better mousetrap," he said. If a prescription brings in $1.68 (most are small numbers), and the fee on that prescription is $5.70, a store is losing money on numerous transac- tions. And that's before the transac- tion fees from MasterCard or Visa, said Howell. Smaller pharmacies aren't equipped like a CVS would be to accommodate all of those cumula- tive hits. Howell's parents, Howell J. Smith and Janet Smith, as well as their dedicated manager William Masse, ran the store before him, and his grandparents, Howell J. Smith Sr. and Margaret Smith, did so before them. He said he was proud to follow in their footsteps. For the first time in a long time, said Smith, he plans to just relax and focus on "a ton of hobbies." Running a business such as this sometimes feels like a 24/7 job, he said, and he's been doing it since he was 14. He's loved what he does, he said, but is ready to take it easy. Smith said he's in no rush to sell the property itself at 749 Central Avenue, on the corner of Newport Avenue. That will likely happen in July, he said, and he really doesn't have much preference on who the buyer is. In his May 16 post addressed to a Darlington community that Howell Smith Druggist has served for the past 82 years, an announcement shared hundreds of times, Smith said his family has been privileged to serve. "Our lives have been filled with wonderful memories of our custom- ers and getting to know you and your families," he said. Owners of Howell Smith overcome by outpouring of support By ETHAN SHOREY Valley Breeze Managing Editor ethan@valleybreeze.com Behind the pharmacy counter at Howell Smith Druggist are, from left, EMILY DEMERS, phar- macy technician, KRISTEN SMITH, pharmacy technician, HOWELL SMITH III, pharmacist and presi- dent, JOYCE COTE, pharmacist, and JOHN BENT, pharmacy tech- nician. EMILY DEMERS and her mom, KRISTEN, right, explain to Howell Smith Druggist customers JERRY COOMBS and JANE WELDEN why they decided to close up shop after 82 years in business. BREEZE PHOTO BY ETHAN SHOREY 1509 Mendon Road, Cumberland, RI 02864 401-333-7911 www.ccvcri.com We would like to welcome Dr. Holly Brown to our staff. OPEN 7 DAYS Compassionate Care Veterinary Clinic 333-7911 Progressive Medicine in a Family Practice Atmosphere Open 7 days a week 1509 Walk-In Emergencies • Treating Small Mammals Hospitalization Facilities • Routine Exam On Monday, June 17, 2019 at 10:00 AM, at 846-848 Newport Ave., Pawtucket, RI, Fastcash Pawn & Checkcashers Inc., licensed check casher #20041631CC, will hold an Auction on all gold, diamonds, watches, electronics, tools, instruments, equipment and any other items that were not redeemed from pawn. If you would like more item detail's on any of the ticket numbers related to this auction, please call us at 401-722-1113 prior to the auction. The items being sold are the following ticket #'s: 38739, 42398, 50339, 51465, 51832, 54912, 60028, 65400, 67706, 67957, 70320, 71664, 71933, 72974, 74983, 75386, 75979, 76424, 77454, 77907, 78023, 78262, 79201, 79359, 85461, 85601, 86057, 87133, 87426, 93922, 95048, 95737, 95836, 95872, 96483, 96879, 97941, 98497, 99981, 99983, 100275, 101873, 102447, 102716, 103292, 104639, 104930, 105044, 105045, 105046, 105047, 105048, 105049, 106343, 107066, 107642, 108252, 108662, 109428, 109429, 109430, 110761, 111028, 111031, 112020, 113848, 113888, 114221, 115163, 115426, 117758, 118417, 119301, 119762, 120013, 120019, 120274, 120874, 121704, 122648, 123001, 123362, 124447, 125772, 125992, 126246, 126933, 127177, 127681, 128283, 128473, 128661, 128785, 128882, 129011, 129085, 129397, 129697, 130595, 130852, 131023, 131071, 131117, 131195, 131538, 131778, 131818, 131829, 132321, 132396, 132494, 132780, 133044, 133219, 133437, 133556, 133704, 134057, 134629, 134826, 134865, 134895, 135002, 135027, 135183, 136734, 136860, 137118, 137265, 137625, 137922, 138175, 138200, 138345, 138617, 138726, 139012, 139389, 139723, 139833, 139897, 140093, 140390, 140391, 140422, 140478, 140514, 140528, 140807, 141070, 141212, 141260, 141506, 142221, 142315, 143011, 143151, 143364, 143547, 143686, 143755, 143950, 144134, 144276, 144472, 144507, 145406, 145428, 145874, 145933, 146003, 146188, 146200, 146220, 146294, 146309, 146343, 146361, 146380, 146433, 146438, 146563, 146715, 146967, 147025, 147201, 147220, 147290, 147406, 147472, 147494, 147724, 147863, 147910, 147959, 148055, 148114, 148532, 148676, 148740, 148897, 148978, 149093, 149161, 149295, 149352, 149381, 149431, 149457, 149483, 149546, 149823, 149838, 149906, 149913, 149933, 149985, 150114, 150192, 150196, 150242, 150325, 150402, 150429, 150441, 150512, 150689, 150815, 150839, 150869, 150990, 151450, 151714, 151715, 151717, 151740, 151834, 151961, 152019, 152208, 152214, 152243, 152292, 152324, 152351, 152355, 152361, 152363, 152371, 152395, 152433, 152681, 152808, 152814, 152861, 152957, 152982, 153010, 153042, 153043, 153047, 153055, 153083, 153084, 153144, 153146, 153170, 153177, 153191, 153203, 153325, 153347, 153395, 153422, 153467, 153480, 153564, 153581, 153633, 153660, 153665, 153735, 153782, 153844, 153883, 153896, 153994, 154071, 154177, 154295, 154331, 154511, 154602, 154648, 155190, 155331, 155533, 155637, 155849, 155912, 155936, 156099, 156124, 156266, 156300, 156479, 156494, 156565, 156586, 156591, 156614, 156640, 156666, 156777, 156791, 156799, 156815, 156832, 156836, 156847, 156850, 156869, 156882, 156895, 156896, 156940, 156977, 156978, 157017, 157024, 157034, 157039, 157044, 157045, 157051, 157071, 157082, 157115, 157129, 157138, 157139, 157144, 157146, 157177, 157191, 157195, 157196, 157219, 157228, 157244, 157271, 157303, 157331, 157398, 157400, 157426, 157451, 157485, 157490, 157505, 157509, 157523, 157529, 157530, 157554, 157561, 157585, 157626, 157630, 157635, 157651, 157652, 157653, 157655, 157676, 157677, 157679, 157682, 157693, 157699, 157705, 157746, 157788, 158004, 158126, 158130, 158255, 158883, 159342, 159432, 159667, 159860, 160114, 160359, 160360, 160362, 160373, 160375, 160377, 160379, 160386, 160389, 160393, 160397, 160398, 160399, 160406, 160407, 160413, 160415, 160419, 160428, 160431, 160436, 160446, 160452, 160460, 160463, 160464, 160468, 160488, 160491, 160493, 160496, 160498, 160500, 160503, 160513, 160518, 160520, 160524, 160534, 160545, 160554, 160559, 160561, 160569, 160575, 160578, 160581, 160588, 160591, 160602, 160606, 160612, 160617, 160630, 160631, 160634, 160640, 160643, 160644, 160645, 160648, 160649, 160658, 160660, 160661, 160663, 160666, 160676, 160679, 160681, 160685, 160686, 160694, 160698, 160703, 160704, 160709, 160710, 160713, 160716, 160717, 160724, 160736, 160748, 160752, 160755, 160758, 160760, 160767, 160778, 160783, 160803, 160805, 160810, 160824, 160828, 160830, 160832, 160845, 160847, 160850, 160852, 160853, 160858, 160862, 160864, 160865, 160873, 160875, 160876, 160884, 160891, 160900, 160915, 160917, 160926, 160931, 160933, 160940, 160943, 160944, 160950, 160962, 160970, 160971, 160973, 160977, 160985, 160995, 160998, 161001, 161004, 161005, 161007, 161008, 161009, 161014, 161020, 161022, 161023, 161028, 161042, 161043, 161047, 161048, 161050, 161055, 161056, 161064, 161065, 161067, 161068, 161075, 161076, 161077, 161079, 161082, 161083, 161086, 161092, 161104, 161107, 161109, 161110, 161112, 161114, 161117, 161118, 161119, 161123, 161133, 161150, 161153, 161160, 161162, 161166, 161168, 161171, 161172, 161175 The Auction will be conducted by Bob Resnick of Max Pollack & Co., Auctioneers. Ltd. RI LIC # 6893

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