ROCKPORT — With necessary approvals in hand, a Rockport couple is moving forward with their plans to open a new, independent pharmacy on Main Street.
Blue Gate Gardens, the plant nursery and garden center will eventually become Sandy Bay Pharmacy in a change that received unanimous approval from town officials this week.
Rockporters Amber and Nenad Bazdar are not newcomers to the world of pharmaceuticals; Nenad has worked at the Rite Aid in Whistlestop Mall — about a 10 minute walk away — for about seven years.
Since his family moved to Massachusetts from Croatia 13 years ago, he has come to find his home in Rockport; he is a graduate of the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in Boston. He came to America with his family in the midst of the Croatian War of Independence, which came to a close in 1995.
In Boston, Nenad got through pharmaceutical school with a limited understanding of English.
”He was learning pharmacology with an English dictionary,” Amber said.
Nenad’s mother was a nurse in Croatia and his father worked as a chemist dealing with medicine, he said.
When he met Amber, a lifelong Rockport resident, Nenad said he knew this was a community he wanted to live in.
”When I fell in love with her, I fell in love with the town,” he said.
The couple have three kids, two are in the Rockport Elementary school while the third is almost there.
The two said the permitting process in town does have a learning curve, but watching others approach the Planning Board and Zoning Board was helpful, as were residents and town officials in addition to the input of their own planners and engineers.
”It can be very labor intensive,” Nenad said of the permitting process.
Even with Rite Aid, Nenad’s former employer, just a short walk away and a number of pharmacies in Gloucester, including two CVS stores, a 24-hour Walgreens and others, the two still hope to bring something new to the table.