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New pharmacy to open in Little Neck

The newly refurbished Lee Drug Store, at 254-23 Horace Harding Expressway in Little Neck, was planning its grand opening this week, co-owner Chandra Gajulapalli said. The new pharmacy is replacing Le Drug Store, which shut down last month.

Gajulapalli, a graduate of St. John's University with a B.S. in pharmacy and a 10-year veteran of the pharmacy business, said he wanted to open his own store after years of working for Genovese.

This store is "going to be an independent just like before," he said. The new owner said he purposely made the name of the new store similar to the old shop.

"People don't want to see a big change," the former Queens Village resident said. "We want to keep a flow."

To keep flow, Gajulapalli said customers should expect to see a few familiar faces in the new store as he works to rehire former Le Drug Store employees.

The new store, Gajulapalli said, will feature a full line of cosmetics, health aids, surgical items such as wheelchairs and crutches, and vitamins as well as the pharmacy. Customer service will be a priority, he said.

"We will offer free delivery," he said. As long as customers provide contact information for doctors, "we'll do the rest," he said, by reaching out to physicians and bringing prescriptions to patients' doors.

The service would be especially important, Gajulapalli said, for customers who are homebound or who have difficulty traveling in poor weather.

"We want to make it easy for the customer," Gajulapalli said. He said the store would also work to find specialty items upon a customer's request.

"We're going to respond faster than the chain stores to the community," he said.

To contact the new Lee Drug Store, call 631-8787 or fax the store at 631-7890.

Le Drug Store, a community fixture, had advertised itself as an "independently owned" drugstore and asked customers to support it before suddenly closing without any explanation to the public.

The only warning of the store's shutdown was in signs posted outside the pharmacy telling customers that prescriptions were being transferred to the new Duane Reade on the eastbound side of the Long Island Expressway.

Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 146.

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