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Ryan Pharmacy, Walgreens Would Merge in Unionville Plan

Griffin family, UVIA and Unionville Architectural Review Design Committee support Mill Street move.

Far from the image of a big box store barreling into Unionville and putting a small, family-owned pharmacy out of business, the plan to build a Walgreens at 50 Mill St. in Unionville is one that’s good for both Ryan Pharmacy and for the village, according to Unionville Village Improvement Association President Timothy LeBouthillier.

If the plan is approved, Walgreens would “merge with” Ryan Pharmacy, founded in 1957 by William Ryan and purchased by Peter Griffin in 1986. Ryan Pharmacy employees would staff the new Walgreens and C.J. Griffin, Peter Griffin’s son, would manage the store, according to a letter Peter Griffin wrote to the Farmington planning office.

“My decision to enter into this agreement was not an easy one,” Griffin wrote in the letter. “Many external factors (such as the state’s decision to force its employees to obtain their prescriptions by mail) have made it difficult to continue to operate as an independent pharmacy. After the merger is completed, I plan to retire and spend more time with family and friends. You should expect to see my son C.J. and a vast majority of the staff continuing to work at the pharmacy.”

In addition to consideration for Ryan’s, developers also were sensitive to the village’s history and its vision for the future, LeBouthillier said.

“We wanted to ensure the project was in keeping with our history and the look of the mill town we’ve been trying to create,” he said.

That means going back to what Unionville looked like before redevelopment and working to create a walkable downtown.

“There were some fantastic buildings that we lost [in redevelopment] and we have a chance to work with people who honor that vision to recreate it. That’s exciting,” LeBouthillier said.

In drawing up plans for the proposed Walgreens, architect BL Companies and developer Sound Development worked off of photographs, provided by Unionville Museum Vice-President Cliff Alderman, of the Broadbent mill that once stood on the site.

Sound Development also met several times with the Unionville Architectural Review Design Committee and the Unionville Village Improvement Association, incorporating their suggestions into the design and winning their support, said Gary Eucalitto, a member of the development team.

The latest drawings call for a 10,000 square-foot footprint with 3,000 square feet of storage space on a second floor. The exterior is mostly corbelled brick with eyebrow windows and some limestone. From the road, it would look like three storefronts, Eucalitto said and the building is set 10 feet back from the sidewalks. Parking is in the back of the building and there are entrances near the street and the parking lot.

Developers didn’t even consider a drive-through window, he added, in part because of traffic concerns, which he said would not likely be substantial.

On the contrary, the Walgreens is likely to generate less traffic than the stores and apartments the Town Plan and Zoning Commission approved for the parcel in 2004, Eucalitto said. And since Walgreens will be buying Ryan’s scripts, its anticipated customers are already using the intersection.  

“It’s expected to be local traffic,” Eucalitto said. "The whole intersection has been upgraded to accommodate something at this location. We have no expectation to exceed what was approved prior or create any kind of congestion. Pharmacies just don’t have that kind of traffic flow.”

Finally, Eucalitto said the deal, in which Sound Development would buy the 50 Mill St. parcel, would free up money for the current owner to move forward with developing the other parts of his property.

Sound Development will seek a zoning amendment at tonight’s Town Plan and Zoning meeting at Town Hall at 7:30 p.m. If the amendment is approved, the developer would likely return for a site plan application soon afterward.

Terry June 25, 2012 at 02:34 PM
I support the Griffin family's decision and Walgreen's collaborative approach. Makes a lot more sense to me now!
April Rogers June 25, 2012 at 02:57 PM
We drove past there the other day and my question is this.. How are they going to support the riverfront? They will have to bring in dirt and what are they going to do to stop all that dirt from washing into the river? It is literally going to suck trying to get out of the post office or DD to get to the light with traffic coming out the new store, has anyone thought about that? People will start going down around by Union School just to be able to move and that will create a hazard with the school children and the apartments. If they want to put in a box store, put it in the existing location of Ryans where traffic is used to coming in and out of!
Anne June 25, 2012 at 03:44 PM
I feel better that the Griffin family is in support of this but it will NOT be Ryan's. It will be Walgreens! And I still don'It think this is a great idea. I would love to see something like La Salles market there. Love that place...why can't we have something like that???
Michael Koster June 25, 2012 at 03:47 PM
We do not need yet another monstrous store in town, selling everything under the sun, adding to the traffic and the overall loss of our small town allure. Unionville center is turning into yet another suburban chain store nightmare. Let's just merge Parson’s hardware with Home Depot, let the new Riverside Cafe be bought up by Starbucks, turn Matthew's into a Cheesecake Factory and call it a day. It’s already happened to Canton, they’ll finish with Unionville and Farmington then next stop New Hartford.
Tobey Harvey June 25, 2012 at 04:22 PM
This town is going down hill fast...I agree with MK. Let all the big box stores into the little quaint towns disquised as these fake store fronts. the TPZ and the rest don't care what they do to Farmington.
Marge Cistulli June 25, 2012 at 04:33 PM
I still wish we'd have a restaurant with a nice outdoor patio overlooking the river and bridge......we don't need another drug store and don't want to block the view of the water.
Kaitlin Glanzer (Editor) June 25, 2012 at 04:36 PM
April, according to Mr. Griffin's letter, Walgreens will take over in Ryan's current location until the new store is built (if approved) but the space is too small for their model. I believe the deal's contingent on the building's approval.
Kaitlin Glanzer (Editor) June 25, 2012 at 04:38 PM
Going back to what Sas said on the previous story thread, Matthew's and Apricots have outdoor dining areas overlooking the river.
Wyatt June 25, 2012 at 04:47 PM
Given these comments, I would be shocked if any business person ever decides to open a business in Unionville. No matter what it is, seems like you'd be attacked and run out of town.
Wyatt June 25, 2012 at 04:48 PM
What little quaint town?
Janet Colturi June 25, 2012 at 06:36 PM
I am a Ryan's customer and would welcome a choice that was not CVS. There is not going to be another drug store. This store wouild replace Ryan"s.
Patrick Griffin June 25, 2012 at 06:45 PM
What's funny about the big box comments is that the UVIA and my Family are dyed-in-the-wool Unionville. My Father's (and deceased Mother's) 50 plus years of service to this town and his customers deserves nothing but respect and admirationn. Patrick Griffin
Janet Colturi June 25, 2012 at 06:52 PM
I ageee this is going to be a better solution than Ryan's closing and all the employees out of work. I think the the proposal is in keeping with what I would like to see on the property. Isn't anyone else sick of the rubble? Also, the town can't decide which application go before them for approival. If a restaurent wanted to apply to build on the property they could apply. I say this is going in the right direction for Unionville. Hope to see you all at the TPZ meeting.
John Vibert June 25, 2012 at 07:19 PM
Amen Patrict...and he has my respect and admiration. Good luck to Peter and CJ and the rest of the Ryan's staff. Thank you.
Linda Barnhart June 25, 2012 at 08:59 PM
OK. You are forgiven. But why didn't you tell us all the details before getting my blood pressure up? This sounds like an excellent arrangement that will benefit everyone. I really like the pics of the designs, especially #1. I think the town has a definite communication problem. Be more upfront the next time.
Barbara Doskos June 25, 2012 at 09:19 PM
Sorry, I still beleive that the LAST thing we need in Unionville is another pharmacy. Seems to be though that this is just about a done deal...and supposedly it has not yet gone to the TPZ...seems odd.
Tobey Harvey June 25, 2012 at 10:03 PM
Done deals are the normal it seems
Patrick Griffin June 25, 2012 at 11:04 PM
Unionville has never looked better. Much thought and consideration has gone into this project. First and foremost was the impact on his customers and his employees. Those who know my Father and my family understand the meaning behind those words.
Mike Clark June 26, 2012 at 12:18 AM
In my eyes a win win for Unionville. We get a nice, stylish building and we keep the Griffin family in town as our pharmacists. UVIA and Tim Lebouthier have been very protective of our heritage and history. I amconfident this will be well received and fill a big hoe (excuse the pun) on Mill Street. Unionville is attracting private investment and some great new projects.
Shawn Curtis June 26, 2012 at 11:58 AM
It's refreshing to hear how this was approached and while I am sure this was no easy decision for the team at Ryan Pharmacy its good to see the thought that went into the development planning. That said I am interested to hear more about other development plans for that area in the future - I agree with Anne above, what about a LaSalles market concept? What is planned for the existing Ryan Pharmacy property? Writing this and realizing I need to get more informed - can someone direct me to where I can find additional information about the planned developments for this area?
Eileen I. Yates June 26, 2012 at 12:44 PM
Like many people I have been a customer of Ryan's for many years and I will miss the personal and fast service that Peter and C.J. give their customers however I wish them well and happy that Peter can retire and have more time with family and friends. I can say that I dont like change but that's "LIFE". Eileen Yates
Kirby Murawski June 26, 2012 at 02:13 PM
well said.
Kirby Murawski June 26, 2012 at 02:16 PM
AGREED! Old unionville had a bowling alley, a movie theater etc! Why cant we have something like that? The indoor golf center in canton is a wonderful idea also, not ANOTHER PHARMACY!
Janet Colturi June 26, 2012 at 03:31 PM
As I mentioned before, TPZ can't pick an choose which projects come before them. They are tasked with reviewing what is presented to them and deciding if that project is appropriate for that space. Maybe the members wish they could pick and choose, but they can't. I did make this comment about the application for the Morman Church. TPZ is not the Supreme Court.
Catherine Salce June 26, 2012 at 04:04 PM
First, everyone will receive the same personal service as always!! The staff will remain the same. We wish Peter nothing but the best and we will continue to uphold the Ryan Pharmacy tradition. We are proud to be part of this change. And look forward to seeing all of you in the future! The Ryan Pharmacy Staff
Steve June 26, 2012 at 07:30 PM
For the sake of setting the record straight on comments about another drugstore in town and what would go in place of the current pharmacy location: 1. There will still be two drugstores in town. One pharmacy in town cannot handle the prescription needs of all of Unionville. 2. The Griffin Family does not own the property where the current pharmacy is located, so there would be not rebuilding of the current property.
Carolyn June 28, 2012 at 05:27 PM
Carolyn I happy for the Griffin family who have served many of us faithfully for years. They deserve to have a financially viable future. I applaud their support of the current staff and desire to continue providing personal service. This merger will allow their customers to retain that benefit and have the additional perks of a multi-purpose drugstore. I do wonder if the Crisis Pregnancy Center will be affected by all of this? does anyone know?
Shelly Harris July 13, 2012 at 04:47 PM
It is truly amazing to me how negative some of the comments are. I am from a business family myself and my heart goes out to the people who are trying to create a positive change. If those naysayers are interested in different types of businesses going in certain locations why don't they get off their rumps and start their own or keep their ignorant comments to themselves?
Ingimar Bjarnason July 28, 2012 at 04:31 PM
This is even worse since it will not leave us with the option of doing business with a locally owned pharmacy. The big box stores and chain store/restrauant reality is bad for any local economy. See, typically when doing business with a locally owned business 70% of the money you spent stays in the local economy against only 40% when you give your money to an outside force such as Walgreens, CVS or any franchised retail or restrauant. So everytime a local business fold in favor of an outside party we all lose. Every single one of us and that is no occasion to be glad. Additionally the proposed building will not be pretty. It will be an obviously faux immitation of the real thing. Why are we trying to recreate a long lost old downtown with inferiour designs like the new McDonalds building? Why are we not rather looking into creating a modern looking town and looking forwards?
Jerome October 30, 2012 at 03:22 PM
First CVS on rte. 10 and now Walgreens in Unionville. Darn right Farmington is sliding downhill. No matter how they try to spin this we are just getting another BigBox store thrust on us. No matter how they try to make the Box fit into the local environs it is still Lipstick on a Pig.

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