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Genovese opens in burned Little Neck storefront

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By Kathianne Boniello and Adam Kramer

About 60 shoppers turned out last weekend for the grand opening of a new Genovese drugstore on Northern Boulevard in Little Neck, marking the rebirth of a shopping strip that has been vacant since fire ravaged the building nearly 10 years ago.

The newly opened Little Neck drugstore, owned by the Florida-based Eckerd Corporation, joins 29 other Genovese locations in Queens, including one on Bell Boulevard in Bayside, a spokeswoman for the company said Monday. The new Genovese is located at 252-17 Northern Blvd.

The site of the new store had been an empty, burnt-out structure for the past decade after a fire in a restaurant gutted the building. The location adjacent to Scobee Diner at the intersection of Northern Boulevard and Little Neck Parkway formerly housed the restaurant Catherine’s of Great Neck as well as law offices and a chiropractor’s office, neighboring business owners said.

Renovations to the space began in early 2000, which involved repairing the buildings’ roof and adding a new beige-colored storefront for the future Genovese as well as the neighboring Mr. China, a longstanding dishware business in the community.

Shoppers who braved Sunday’s freezing rain and strong winds to come to the Genovese seemed pleased with the results.

Sherry Ricuito of Bayside said “it is nice and clean and I like coming to a new store. I found out about the store through a flier in the mail and it is only five minutes from my home. There is one in Bayside, but this one is bigger and nicer.”

As consumers sought out bargains on traditional chain pharmacy fare such as over-the-counter and prescription drugs, drinks, chips, watches and clocks, some praised the layout of the store.

Lorena Millan of Little Neck, who lives about a block away, said the store is good for the area. She said she used to go to Rite-Aid, but the Genovese is better.

A woman who identified herself as “Ms. D. Mittleton” of Bayside said she was a regular customer of the Genovese on Bell Boulevard.

“When this store opened, I wanted to see what it looked like,” she said. “It is nice and roomy. You can get around with the carts and it is well stocked.”

Other Genovese locations in Queens include Glen Oaks, Oakland Gardens, Whitestone, Auburndale, Rego Park and Ozone Park, among others.

The Little Neck Genovese will be open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. and on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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

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