Longs buys Gulick Pharmacy, expands
The acquisition gives Longs its first pharmacy store in the islands
Longs Drug Stores has opened its 32nd Hawaii store at a neighborhood in Kalihi.
Longs officially opened Monday at 2070 N. King St., its first location in the islands that only has a pharmacy. Walnut Creek, Calif.-based Longs Drug Stores Corp. bought and expanded Gulick Pharmacy in a deal that closed Saturday.
"This is the first pharmacy store in Hawaii that we've done although we do have some on the mainland," Longs spokeswoman Farra Levin said. "Our customers are looking for more convenience, and we've tried to answer that by creating more locations."
Longs may open one to four more locations in Hawaii within the next year or so, she said.
The Gulick location will be headed by longtime pharmacist Larry Tong, whose in-laws have owned Gulick Pharmacy since 1991.
Tong said Longs and several other interested parties approached him about buying the business more than a year ago. He declined to disclose the terms of the deal.
Longs' 32nd location in the islands comes as Deerfield, Ill.-based drug retailer Walgreen Co. prepares to enter the market with two locations -- one on Keeaumoku Street in Honolulu and one in Kaneohe.
Walgreens has more than 5,500 locations across 47 states in the United States and Puerto Rico, while Longs Drug has more than 500 stores nationwide.
Longs has had a more than 50-year presence in the islands, although the Gulick store is the first additional store to open in the last seven years.
All of the six staff members from Gulick Pharmacy were kept for the new Longs, which moved into a renovated 1,500-square-foot space next door to the old space, which was considerably smaller at about 400 square feet.
Longs added another person to the staff and probably will hire one more.
"Times are getting tougher for everyone all around," Tong said. "The deal came along and I didn't want to do the checkwriting any more. I want to be a pharmacist, not the guy who does the payroll and other stuff."
The pharmacy will continue to serve the neighborhood by providing the particular goods that its customers demand, Tong said.
A regular, full-service Longs typically measures about 16,000 square feet, according to Levin. But Longs also has smaller pharmacies in urban neighborhoods on the mainland.
Longs at Gulick will offer its pharmacy along with general health-care goods offered by a full store, such as contact lens solution and baby aspirin. The pharmacy will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday.