By James Niedzinski
---- — ROCKPORT — Rockporters still hungry for a grocery store have yet to get an answer to their prayers.
But prospective owners looking to open a new independent pharmacy are hoping town officials and residents will see their project as filling at least part of what the doctor ordered for this seaside town.
Longtime Bliue Gate Gardens owners of the family business John and Diane Wonson, have agreed to sell their florist and tree nursery business on Main Street so Sandy Bay Apothecary can construct a new pharmacy on the property.
Rockport residents Amber and Nenad Bazdar have plans to buy out and then construct a new pharmacy, but they need approval from the Board of Appeals beforehand because the site is in a residential neighborhood.
The Wonsons sought and won similar approvals years ago. The board is set to take up the plans at their meeting on June 25 at 7:30 p.m. at the Rockport Public Library.
Amber Bazdar said the pharmacy will be made with the town’s intentions in mind; plans call for the pharmacy to be built to look like a house.
“We’re trying to take the corporation out of the pharmacy,” Amber said. Nenad Bazdar worked previously at the Rite Aide in Rockport for about seven years.
While the pharmacy will sell perishable and non-perishable foods, it will not constitute as a grocery store, so it will not be selling any beer or wine under a newly approved town bylaw allowing such sales in a prospective grocery store, Amber said. The Bazdars will also be selling canes, wheelchairs, walkers, and other medical related equipment.
The pharmacy will measure 2,000 square feet on the first floor, the storefront, while the second floor which will serve as storage and office space will be about 1,000 square feet. The store would cover about three quarters of an acre, should the building be constructed.
Meanwhile, the Wonsons are poised to bow out of their business.
“There comes a time when all good things must come to an end,” John Wonson said Friday.
Wonson has worked at the shop for 36 seasons and said numerous interested parties have come to him about renting or buying the land, but agreed to the pharmacy deal because he liked the project and the ways it could benefit the town.
“It will be done nice, so it looks like part of the neighborhood,” he said.
Wonson added the new business would have reasonable hours, with no drive-through window — and it could create jobs.
He said he would spend most of his retirement spending time with family members and grandchildren.
“If I could be 20 years younger, I wouldn’t even consider closing,” the 72-year-old Wonson said.
James Niedzinski can be reached at 978-283-7000, x 3455 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.