Selectmen honored the owners of the town’s oldest pharmacy Friday, naming the Cox Family recipients of the Abington’s Best Award.
William Cox, the second generation owner of Bemis Drug, announced recently that the North Abington landmark will close on January 27 after 105 years of operation.
The news unleashed a flood of well wishes and memories from Abington families new and old who have had their prescriptions filled by a member of the Cox family over the years.
“The Cox family and Bemis Drug have been a cornerstone and mainstay in our community, and your closing will leave a void that will not be replaced,” Selectmen Chairman Tim Chapin said during the afternoon ceremony. “Thank you to Bemis Drug and all of its staff for what they have done for Abington.”
The Abington’s Best Award is given by the Board of Selectmen to people, groups, and organizations that help make Abington a great town. Fred Villa, owner of Martin’s Restaurant, which is located next to Bemis, received the Abington’s Best Award last year.
The ceremony was recorded by Abington Community Access & Media, and will be available to watch in the coming days.
In 1905, Fred Bemis and J. W. Cooper purchased the F.M Spiller drugstore, which was then located on the first floor of the Standish Building, a three-story commercial building that stood on the southwestern corner of Brighton Avenue and North Avenue Cox’s father, Hugh, started working for Fred’s brother, E.O. Bemis in 1951 and acquired the business in the early 60s. The pharmacy moved across Brighton Avenue to its current location in 1969. At one time there were four Bemis drug stores in operation around the area.
William Cox took over the pharmacy in in 1988. Two of his children currently work as pharmacy technicians.
Cox said while the pharmacy is filling as many prescriptions as ever, the declining reimbursement rates insurance companies pay – as well as the continued push toward mail order prescriptions – makes it increasingly difficult to operate an independent pharmacy.
In addition to filing prescriptions, Bemis Drug was also a frequent sponsor of town youth sports teams and other community causes.
State Rep. Alyson Sullivan gave Cox a House Resolution congratulating them on their years of operation.