MINEVILLE - Mineville residents have turned to Bob and Carl Corbo during times of need for 35 years. That ends today.
The owners of the Hometown Pharmacy on Plank Road are retiring, closing their business today.
"It's just time to pass the torch," Carol said. "We've done this a long time and we want to do other things, like travel."
But saying good bye isn't easy.
"We're going to miss the people a lot; we really enjoy interacting with our customers," Bob said. "We've seen entire families grow up. It's been wonderful."
While the Hometown Pharmacy is closing, Mineville residents will still have access to their medicines.
The Moriah Pharmacy in Port Henry has agreed to take care of all the Corbos' existing customers. The Hometown Pharmacy telephone will now ring at the Moriah Pharmacy, which has agreed to make daily deliveries of prescriptions to Mineville residents.
"We certainly appreciate all Bob and Carol have done here over the years," said Jim Bowen, who owns Moriah Pharmacy along with Rebecca Doyle and Karin Bowen. "We want to encourage everyone here (Mineville) to join us there (Port Henry)."
All parties have been working for a seamless transition for customers.
"I've been here learning their system," Sarah Hastings, Moriah Pharmacy pharmacist, said. "We want everything to go smoothly for the customers. They shouldn't be concerned at all about the changes."
Bob Corbo said the merger has been completed with the customer in mind.
"Giving people personal service is the key," Bob said. "This is my hometown and I wanted to treat everyone like a neighbor and friend. When we decided to retire I wanted someone to take over who thinks like we do. That's why I insisted on the local delivery service."
Bowen assured customers they will get the same personal attention they got from the Corbos.
"We know this is a change," he said. "There will be an impact on customers, but both parties want it to be a positive impact."
The Moriah Pharmacy, located at 4315 Main St. in Port Henry, is open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday to Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. It's hours mirror those at the Moriah Health Center.
Bowen noted the Moriah Pharmacy and Hudson Headwaters Network, which operates the Moriah Health Center, work as partners.
"We're all in this together in rural communities," he said. "Health centers and pharmacies have to work together."
Local, independent pharmacies are facing many challenges, such as low reimbursement rates from insurance companies and competition from mail-order firms. Bowen noted 67 local pharmacies have closed in New York State this year.
Bowen and his partners also own pharmacies in Schroon Lake and Willsboro.
The Corbos look forward to retirement, but they're also sad. As Carol typed a letter to customers notifying them of the change, she cried.
"This has been our life for the past 35 years," Bob said. "We'd even get calls on nights and weekends. People get sick on weekends and need help. I think they appreciated that we were there for them and we're glad we could do it."