Dell's Pharmacy Closed

By: 
Eduardo Landa

A long-running pharmacy on Bellflower Boulevard has closed its doors after 23 years in business.

Dell’s Los Altos Pharmacy closed on Monday Jan. 22, due to the owner’s retirement.

Owner Hasendra Shah has been in the pharmacy business for 40 years. He opened his first pharmacy in 1987 and moved to its present location at 1777 Bellflower Blvd in 1994, where they have been serving many local residents. Shah ran the pharmacy with his wife, Bina.

Shah talked about how they faced their fair amount of hardships, but despite it all the pharmacy did well.

“We had some challenges, but overall business was fair and good,” Shah said.

One of the early challenges he faced was getting customers. Many customers feel skeptical when a new pharmacy opens and it takes them time to commit to a pharmacist.

“You have to earn their trust and it takes a while to earn the trust of the people,” Shah said.

The city of Long Beach was a great home for the pharmacy, especially in the area where it was located, however Shah points out that the city government hasn’t been super friendly toward businesses.

“The City of Long Beach from the government perspective is not easy to do business with,” Shah said.

He cites the high local sales tax and high licensing fees as examples.

The current Long Beach sales tax is 10.25 percent which is higher than the average 7.75 percent state rate and the average for cities in Los Angeles County, which is at 9.5 percent. The Long Beach general business license fee is $355.

After Shah and his wife decided to retire there was an attempt to keep the pharmacy open with an independent pharmacist, but the current climate for the insurance industry, like Medi-Cal and Medicare, presented a lot of challenges for new pharmacists coming in. It would have been too difficult for them to be able to get the necessary contracts and licenses.

They sold all their records to CVS because it was the only pharmacy in the area.

A lot of the recent changes in the health care industry are also a major factor as to why they weren’t able to keep the pharmacy in business. The insurance companies are no longer paying sufficient coverages, drug manufacture costs and pharmacy benefit managers costs are high.

“Very little is left for the pharmacist,” Shah said.

Shah and his wife decided to retire because he felt that after working in the pharmacy business for 40 years and owning a pharmacy for 30 years it was finally time to do other things. Also, a couple of years ago, Shah had surgery and felt that he needed to slow down.

Once they retire, Shah is planning on traveling, volunteering and spending more time with his grandchildren. He’s also planning on going back to school and study philosophy.

What Shah will miss the most are his patients.

“This pharmacy had been helping so many patients that don’t get this kind of service at CVS or big stores,” Shah said.

They have many patients with special needs and others who need special service that other pharmacists don’t have time to provide. A lot of his patients he has known for 30 years.

One of the things he won’t miss is dealing with insurance companies.

“I’ll be happy to get out of that,” Shah said.

eduardo@beachcomber.news

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Comments

Congratulations on your retirement, Hasendra! Thank you both for the many years of service to our families. You will surely be missed.

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