When Carol and George Bukwich opened Center Drugs 40 years ago, drug stores focused on medicine. There have been vast changes in the retail landscape since then, changes that have often made it hard for independently owned local drug stores to survive. But Center Drugs still stands at the corner of Bloomfield and Grove avenues because the Bukwiches learned that they could fill other needs for their customers just the way they fill their prescriptions.
Over the past year, Carol Bukwich and assistant Cindy Gerlach have built up a selection of gift items specifically for the people they see every week. “We know 99% of our customers the minute they walk in the door,” says Bukwich. “And we call them if we know there is something coming in that they might want.”
The gifts include seasonal items, like those now on display for Saint Patrick’s Day and Easter, as well as home decor pieces. “When Cindy and I fall in love with something, we know our customers will too,” says Bukwich. “We’re getting some unique gifts.”
Center Drugs is very much a family business. When the business opened four decades ago, Bukwich came to the store as soon as her children were in nursery school. All of the Bukwich’s children have worked there over the years, and Bukwich’s toddler granddaughter now chimes in with her inventory requests (“More stickers”) when she is in the store. Gerlach is not a blood relation, but has worked with Bukwich so long that Bukwich quips, “she’s become part of the family.”
Center Drugs is located at 656 Bloomfield Avenue. It is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.[mappress]