Planet Pharmacy bounces back after destruction

KOFI AYIM

A neighborhood family-owned and -operated pharmacy in the Bronx, New York City, that became a victim in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis has picked up the pieces and bounced back in earnest. Planet Pharmacy, which serves mostly Africans, African Americans, and Hispanics and is located on the Grand Concourse, was established in 2014 by Beatrice and Forster Akuoko.

According to the resident pharmacist, Mrs. Beatrice Akuoko, the pharmacy closed a little bit earlier on June 1, 2020, when it was learned that rioters had visited mayhem on Fordham Street a few blocks away. Their worst fears came to pass when a call was received early morning on June 2 about break-ins on a stretch of blocks on the Grand Concourse by alleged demonstrators. Planet Pharmacy was not spared. The metal door of the pharmacy had been sheared off and the glass door smashed for access. The police, who obviously had their hands full with demonstrators, couldn’t show up till the next day. Fortunately, an undercover detective who had arrested one of the looters the previous night with an assortment of medicine in his possession suddenly showed up and assured the grief-stricken owners that the police were aware of the break-in.  “The place looked like a war zone when we entered,” said a dejected Beatrice Akuoko. “Broken bottles of over-the-counter medicine, prescription drugs and vials interspersed with blood, apparently from cuts of the looters, were spilled all over the place. It was scary,” she added. “The place was ransacked and stripped naked…desktop and laptop, bill counting machines, lottery equipment. They smashed other gadgets they couldn’t carry away,” chimed in Forster Akuoko. The family received a call from the Bronx District Attorney’s office on June 2, to assure them that the D.A. was on their case.

The well-patronized neighborhood pharmacy is currently operating about 85% capacity with help from several directions. Members of District Council 9 (D.C. 9), a unionized chapter of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, offered their services by repairing the shattered storefront glass window and door at no cost. A group of some second-generation Africans organized a GoFundMe campaign to help alleviate the fiscal plight of the neighborhood pharmacy. Churches, clientele, individuals, and sympathizers also assisted Planet Pharmacy in different ways to bounce bank.  As the owners wait for a grant from the City to restore them to fully operational status, they are appealing to their lost customers to come back. Mr. Forster Akuoko says Planet Pharmacy is very grateful and appreciative for the numerous acts of support it has received from the community and beyond during these challenging times. “We are indeed here to stay,” he emphasized.    

Posted by on Jul 12 2020. Filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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