JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - In less than two years of operation, a much-needed pharmacy in a low-income part of town has shut its doors.
Action News Jax first broke the news about New Town Pharmacy last week but on Thursday we spoke to the owner, Dr. Albert Chester II, about the move.
When he opened the pharmacy on Moncrief Road, he didn’t foresee major challenges but that wasn’t top of mind anyway.
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“Health care has to be about people,” said Chester.
His business was welcomed amid cheers and applause.
But less than two years later, he’s having to shut it down.
“We could’ve stayed but service would’ve declined. We would have to cut out free delivery, something like that, long term,” he said.
According to Chester, despite his business growing, he was losing money. It's a problem he blamed on an unregulated industry that controls reimbursements for medications.
Before things got bad, he accepted an offer from Walgreens to buy his customer list and medications.
Now he plans to help the community by running for the 5th Congressional District, a seat currently held by Democratice Rep. Al Lawson.
“My goal is to bring money back to Jacksonville to areas like these to make businesses want to come,” said Chester.
While New Town Pharmacy may be gone, Chester said it doesn’t mean he will be too.
Chester also owns the Capstone Institute which is next door to the pharmacy. The organization helps train pharmacy technicians.
He also plans to donate all the vitamins and medications that were left over to nearby homeless shelters.
Action News Jax spoke to Councilwoman Ju'coby Pittman, who represents the area where the pharmacy is located.
She wasn’t aware that the pharmacy has closed and expressed disappointment that it shut down.
Pittman thanked Chester for his investment and she hopes the new plan the city is rolling out for the Moncrief area will give the community the boost it needs.
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