BY VERNON DAVIDSON Executive editor — publications firstname.lastname@example.org
KINGSTON'S landmark York Pharmacy changed hands on October 20 in what former owner Garth Moodie described as a seamless transition that culminated sale negotiations lasting over a year.
Moodie told the Jamaica Observer on Saturday that the new owners, local firm Serron Pharmaceuticals Limited, will continue to operate the business under the York Pharmacy name, an agreement obviously designed to capitalise on the strong brand Moodie developed at the same location in Half-Way-Tree over the past 41 years.
Moodie said Serron actually started operating the pharmacy on Sunday, October 21 and have kept approximately half of his workers, while taking in other staff themselves.
Asked whether he was content with his decision to sell a business he had developed and run for 41 years, Moodie, now 71 years old, responded with a quick 'yes'.
"It was very easy. I want to retire, man," he said, adding that he wanted to enjoy the rest of his life. That, he said, will include some travelling and tending to property he owns.
"I have a little place up Red Hills I want to grow my guava and guineps, and cut my grass and plant some other stuff — stop the hard work," Moodie said.
"I used to get to work at 7:00 am each day and stay until 8:00 pm, and that's seven days a week, he said while seated in his modest office in York Plaza, one of the properties he owned and developed in the general Half-Way-Tree area.
"York has a reputation of being open nearly every day. In fact, we only closed for two days a year — Christmas and Good Friday. Even through hurricanes we try to stay open. So people knew that any time they wanted service, York was always open, except for those two days a year," he said.
Moodie admitted that he doesn't know whether the new owners will maintain that tradition, even as he pointed out that the pharmacy was open on October 22 — National Heroes' Day.
Although he operated the pharmacy for four decades, Moodie is not a pharmacist. In fact, he laughed when the question was put to him.
"I'm a pharmacist by love of customers," he said. "The pharmacy business has been good to me. I've made a lot of friends and developed a lot of relationships. My father, Leslie H Moodie, was in the pharmacy business and he was not a pharmacist, but he just grew up in that business, which I fell in love with and decided to take over."