The owners of 91 Main St.—a commercial space long occupied by Varnum’s Pharmacy—say a retail shop would be a good fit for the location as the drug store moves down the hill.
Terry Spring of Cody Real Estate LLC said though the owners are saddened by Varnum’s decision to move, that they understand it’s best for the pharmacy’s business to offer more diverse products in a larger area, and that a search for the next tenant is underway.
Spring said the property’s owners aren’t set on anything in particular for 91 Main, though the long, narrow-ish space there likely is too small for a restaurant or food vendor.
“It’s a small space for that. So it’s better for hard goods or soft goods,” Spring said when NewCanaanite.com inquired after plans for the 1940 building.
Spring said Cody Real Estate avoids bringing in a direct competitor to one of its other, current tenants on the block—currently those include Baskin-Robbins, The Toy Chest, Candy Nichols, Garelick & Herbs, People’s Bank and Handwright Gallery & Framing.
“We try to give our tenants kind of a little non-compete that way,” she said. “We welcome similar stores, just not direct competitors. But we feel that it would be really nice to have a small shop selling gifts.”
Varnum’s set to relocate this month down the hill to a larger space at 44 East Ave. (next to Goldenberry).
Spring said the owners are “very sad it’s going.”
“But we feel time’s are changing and a drug store has to sell more than drugs,” she said. “They need space to display cosmetics and over-the-counter items and they have a better possibly a better layout and they can start from scratch and set it up the way they want it.”
Varnum’s is New Canaan’s last privately owned pharmacy. Lang’s on Elm Street closed two years ago.
“We thought in New Canaan, for many years, that an independent drug store would be out of business 20 years ago,” Spring recalled.
“When Varnum’s took over we all held our breath that they could manage. So we’re very happy that Varnum’s did well and that this store has survived for quite a while, and anything we could do to work with them, to help them with their business, that’s fine. We just have to recognize the days of Cody’s Pharmacy being the only drug store and the only pharmacy and the telegraph office—because we were originally, a telegraph office and a general store, as well as drugs.”