Hilltowns lose their neighborhood pharmacy

  • Greg Conz, owner of the Williamsburg Pharmacy and Hardware store in Williamsburg, helps Bonnie Young of Easthampton with a medication question. Young works at Linda Manor Extended Care Facility in Leeds and said, “It’s our go-to place for little gifts and whatever else you need. We will miss it.” STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • A customer left flowers for the pharmacy staff when they heard Greg and Carol Conz, owners of the store, will be closing the pharmacy portion of the Williamsburg Pharmacy and Hardware store in Williamsburg. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Rosemary Keeler, left, and Beth Goulet, employees of the Williamsburg Pharmacy and Hardware store in Williamsburg, help April Judd of Goshen with her purchases. “It’s a nice place to stop in and grab what you need before heading up the hill,” Judd said about the pharmacy’s imminent closing. STAFF PHOTOS/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Greg and Carol Conz, owners of the Williamsburg Pharmacy and Hardware store, closed the pharmacy Jan. 8. Rob Matt will manage the remaining hardware store. STAFF PHOTOS/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Greg and Carol Conz, owners of the Williamsburg Pharmacy and Hardware store, will be closing the pharmacy and drugstore. Rob Matt will manage the remaining hardware store. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Greg Conz, Rob Matt and Carol Conz unload a truck at the Williamsburg Pharmacy and Hardware store. The Conzes will be closing the pharmacy and drugstore. Matt will manage the remaining hardware store. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Left, Lynn Martus, an employee, Carol Conz, owner, and Rob Matt, manager, unload a truck at the Williamsburg Pharmacy and Hardware store in Williamsburg. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Manager Rob Matt and employee Lynn Martus unload a truck at the Williamsburg Pharmacy and  Hardware Store. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Greg and Carol Conz, owners of the Williamsburg Pharmacy and Hardware store, will be closing the  pharmacy and drugstore. Rob Matt will manage the remaining hardware store. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

For the Gazette
Published: 1/11/2020 1:17:06 PM
Modified: 1/11/2020 1:16:25 PM

WILLIAMSBURG — After 34 years of serving the needs of people throughout the Hilltowns, the Williamsburg Pharmacy officially closed its doors on Jan. 8.

Store owners Greg and Carol Conz said that after much contemplation over the summer, they decided to sell the prescription portion of the business, which was purchased by CVS.

Greg Conz said notification letters were sent to roughly 1,600 households stating that prescriptions once filled at the Williamsburg Pharmacy could now be filled at the CVS on King Street in Northampton.

“Customer files have been transferred to CVS and they have done a good job of making the transition,” he said. “If customers call our number, the call can go right to CVS, everything is automatic so things should go seamlessly.”

One customer at the store said that he was having some difficulty in making the change.

“Right now I am having trouble with CVS so I am very sad to see this go,” Doug Premo of Plainfield said. “And CVS is a lot further away for us so this is going to be really inconvenient.”

While the prescription counter has closed, the rest of the merchandise at the pharmacy is currently being sold off at half price.

The couple had hoped to sell the operation to an independent or chain pharmacy business that would take over at the Williamsburg location, but they said they had received no such offers.

“Ultimately, we took a look at who was making offers and we went with CVS,” he said.

Conz noted that being an independent pharmacy business takes a lot of work and dedication.

Originally an engineer, he said he had gone back to school to become a pharmacist after realizing that the town needed a local pharmacy. Now after 34 years of filling prescriptions and counseling clients, he says it is time to reclaim some of his time.

“I am 68 years old, and working seven days a week for 12 hours a day was getting to be a little too much,” he said.

Customer reaction

For many in towns throughout the Hilltowns, the pharmacy was the only place to get medical prescriptions and a host of other supplies.

One Chesterfield customer who preferred to be known simply as Pauline said the closing came out of the blue for her.

“I was surprised to hear about this,” she said. “This place is great when you need something quick. In the Hilltowns this is where people go — now we won’t have that.”

One couple at the store Friday said they have been frequent customers for over 30 years.

“It is very convenient and they have a little bit of everything,” Nancy Blondin of Worthington said. “Now we will have to go all the way to Pittsfield or Northampton to get what we need.”

Carol Conz said that while it was definitely time for them to leave the pharmacy business, she was still saddened to think that communities in the Hilltowns are losing their local pharmaceutical resource.

“We can’t thank the community enough for their business, loyalty and love over all these years,” she said. “We have had so many people come in to congratulate us.”

Conz also said CVS has offered to take on those pharmacy employees who wish to work at the CVS chain.

“No one will be left without a job,” she said.

Hardware store to remain open

Once the merchandise from the pharmacy has been sold off, the couple says that they will be doing renovations and moving the hardware section of the store over to the pharmacy side, and renting out the space where the hardware store was.

“The hardware store will remain open during renovations,” Carol Conz said.

Greg Conz estimated that the renovations and move would be completed sometime in March.


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