Fuquay-Varina, N.C. — A Fuquay-Varina mainstay for nearly a century will close its doors March 30, thanks to increasing operating costs and declining sales.
The family-run Elliotts Pharmacy has been a fixture on Main Street for 99 years and a popular destination for many with its soda fountain and old-fashioned juicer.
Owner Curtis Holleman says it's also a place rich with history.
"A lot of town politics was determined right up around the fountain," he said Wednesday.
But old-time values aren't meshing with modern big business.
Holleman says one reason he's shutting down the pharmacy has to do with the prescription reimbursement rate from insurance companies dropping significantly since he bought the store 15 years ago, and drug costs steadily going up.
A change of clientele is another factor. While younger customers enjoy seeing the old-fashioned pharmacy, Holleman says, it doesn't always translate to money.
"The trend is (for customers), especially for young mothers, to be able to drive through a window and get their prescription and get their sick child home and not really come in and shop and visit," Holleman said.
Regular customers have been visiting the pharmacy all their life.
"I was about 3 years old when my mama used to bring me here, and I've continued on," said Ronnie Burch, who eats lunch at the pharmacy at least twice a week.
News of the pharmacy's closing, for him and others, is unreal.
"That was a shock to me," customer Fred Ragan said. "I just never dreamed that I would see it closed. It's been here all my life."