Beachside Pharmacy Opens May 25

 Beachside Pharmacy Opens May 25

By Katie McFadden

A one stop hub for medications, beach gear, household items, snacks, and advice from a friendly, familiar face, is coming to Rockaway Beach. Pharmacist Igor Abramov, formerly of CVS, is opening his very own spot, Beachside Pharmacy, on Saturday, May 25.

All are welcome to stop by the brand-new Beachside Pharmacy on Saturday at 11 a.m. for a ribbon cutting, a chance to see the store and to meet Igor and his wife, Susan, the pharmacists who will be operating this family run community business, located at 101-19 Rockaway Beach Blvd., a corner spot on Beach 102nd Street. There will also be bagels and coffee from Boardwalk Bagel and customers who stop by may also receive a health goodie bag filled with essentials like hand sanitizers, sunscreen, wipes, a toothbrush, floss, immune booster packets and more, on a first come, first served basis.

Some may know Igor from CVS on Beach 88th Street, as he spent about a year and a half working there up until the end of 2022. When he left, Abramov ensured customers that he would be back. After all, he was looking to open his own pharmacy somewhere in the neighborhood where he spent his childhood. Originally from Brooklyn, and the son of immigrants, Abramov says his family moved to Rockaway when he was about six years old. He grew up in the neighborhood before moving back to Brooklyn with his wife at around 21, when he was graduating college. His parents still call Belle Harbor home, so he wanted to bring something back to the close-knit community that he was familiar with, and that he’s considering bringing his own family back to in the future.

For Abramov, it’s all about family. He says he first became familiar with the pharmacy business when he was 14 years old, stocking shelves and sweeping floors at his brother-in-law’s pharmacy. By age 17, he knew it was a career path he would follow. “When you see your brother-in-law wearing that white coat and getting respect from people, you notice that. I ended up growing to love it,” Abramov said. After six years in pharmacy school, earning his doctorate from Long Island University’s downtown Brooklyn location, Abramov worked at a CVS location in Brooklyn before gaining experience as a partner in other pharmacies in the city, and then working at the Rockaway CVS location.

Seeing the world of both corporate chain pharmacies and family-run stores, Abramov saw firsthand the pros of giving people a personalized experienced in a store without the long waits, and he wanted to offer something like that of his own, showing his three young sons the results of working hard. And that’s already paid off. “My five-year-old son did a project in school, and he didn’t tell me about it, but he came home with his project saying, ‘I want to be a pharmacist and work in my dad’s store.’” Abramov adds, “It all goes back to family and that’s why I’m here. If my parents didn’t bring me to Rockaway, I wouldn’t be here. I love this neighborhood and close-knit environment. Rockaway is a good choice for me.”

Come Saturday, Abramov’s own store will be open to the community. Not wanting to step on the toes of other neighborhood pharmacies uptown, when Abramov started looking for locations about two years ago, his focus was the Rockaway Beach area. However, he ran into some obstacles, finding that certain locations he was considering leasing, did not have the proper building codes for a pharmacy. When he learned of the Beach 102nd Street location, Abramov was hesitant, knowing it used to be home to The Irish Circle. “I always felt this corner was off limits because of the history it had. I didn’t want to be that person that takes over a place that was an icon for the neighborhood,” he said. But as the space in the brand-new building remained open for rent while other doors kept closing due to the building code restrictions, Abramov decided to take a chance on the space on Beach 102nd Street.

After acquiring the space in January, waiting on licenses from the state and taking time to build out the location, Abramov is ready to open. The shelves will be stocked with beach gear like towels and sunscreen, some household items, snacks like chips, candy and soda, vitamins of all kinds, including Windmill’s organic, gluten-free vitamins and more. Meanwhile, Igor and Susan are ready to fill prescriptions, and neighbors are eager to give them a shot. Abramov says before the store even opened, he had someone send their prescription to his store. “That was awesome. She saw my signs and said she’d rather come to me than wait in line at CVS,” Abramov said, adding that he offered to fill it right away. He says his phone has been ringing since his signs went up in February, with former customers asking if it was his store. “I don’t think it goes back to just being a pharmacy or a business, it’s about being there as a hub for the community,” Abramov said.

Setting his store apart from chain pharmacies, Abramov will have more personal service, offering same day delivery, blister pack medications, something commonly done in nursing homes for elderly patients, offering a full range of vaccinations, accepting most insurances, and even OTC cards. Plus, he offers notary services, including digital notary. But he’s most looking forward to being a friendly face for new and returning customers. “I’m very approachable and I love talking to people,” he said, adding that he’s multilingual, speaking English, Russian and some Spanish. “I’m not a doctor but I can offer some advice and use my knowledge to help people out. If you need help, I’m here. I’m not here to get rich. I’m here because of family. The business comes second, being a hub for the community comes first,” he said.

Abramov is looking forward to finally opening on Saturday. “I can’t wait. I’ve been telling everyone. I’m happy to be back and to get in touch with customers that I haven’t seen in a few years,” he said. And he’s excited to meet new ones. “This will be our hello to the neighborhood. Come meet me and my wife and see what we have to offer,” he said.

Beachside Pharmacy, located at 101-19 Rockaway Beach Blvd., will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. They can be reached by phone at 718-233-8787 or 718-269-6969.

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