WILKES-BARRE — Harrold’s Pharmacy and its 66-year legacy will go on at a soon-to-be-completed new location, where the walls are bright green, the space is cavernous and the expected services are numerous.
Bruce Lefkowitz, the 49-year-old, third-generation owner of the South Wilkes-Barre business, said the new facility will open Oct. 7 on the site formerly occupied by the Old River Road Bakery.
“We feel locating here will help the neighborhood,” Lefkowitz said. “We hope to be part of a revitalization of South Wilkes-Barre.”
Before Lefkowitz purchased the building, controversy surrounded the property. Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tom Leighton initially intended to sell the building, which had been vacant for 13 years, for $38,000 to Leo A. Glodzik, owner of LAG Towing. Glodzik held the city’s towing contract until earlier this year. The deal to sell the former bakery to Glodzik was terminated following citizen complaints and a lawsuit.
Lefkowitz said an employee lounge area at the front of the store will serve coffee and tea, but customers looking for baked goods will have to buy them elsewhere.
“We’re excited,” Lefkowitz said last week as he gave a tour of the 24,000-square-foot building. “And our employees can’t wait. We’ve been pretty cramped at our current location.”
However, moving down the street to the corner of Old River Road and Beekman Street will be bittersweet, said Lefkowitz, as Harrold’s will abandon its original site.
“I can remember going to the pharmacy as a 4-year-old with my grandfather,” Lefkowitz said. “But the fact is we reached a point where we couldn’t grow any more in our current location.”
The pharmacy will employ 40 people. “Harrold’s is all about customer service,” said Lefkowitz. “That’s our top priority. And we have the best team of dedicated employees who have always had our customers best interests at heart.”
Lefkowitz paid $50,000 for the building and 1.14 acres and has invested between $3 million and $4 million to convert the former bakery into a state-of-the-art pharmacy, he said.
“When we first discussed moving to a new location, we did consider Edwardsville, Kingston and the Back Mountain area,” he said. “But we felt it was important to stay in Wilkes-Barre where we have operated for 66 years.”
In the Harrold’s Pharmacy newsletter — appropriately named “The Tablet” — Lefkowitz thanks his family and customers for their “unwavering loyalty, support and patience.”
Lefkowitz said the pharmacy will be closed on Oct. 5 to allow for the two-day move-in to the new location.