Hamaker update

Dateline: Mon 07 Jan 2008

Thanks to readers who filled me in on some of the details of the sale of Hamaker Pharmacy at 49th and Penn.

Some of the info is worth sharing with a broader audience:

The asking price for the property, which included several buildings and about one-eighth of the block -- not just the drug store -- was $4 million.

The buyer, I am told, was G. Gary Thrapp of Thrapp's Jewelers at 56th and Illinois.

In terms of who is going where, it's a bit of a musical chairs: Emmett's Studio, a hair salon formerly at 56th and Illinois, will occupy the former Hamaker space. Patachou cafe will move into what was formerly Friendly Foods, which will offer a much bigger kitchen.

In terms of history, pharmacist seller George Kaczmarski and his wife Judy bought the property in 1973 from William J. Hamaker. It had been a drug store since 1923. George had actually worked at Hamaker Pharmacy as a student; when George went to Chicago to work for Walgreen's, Bill Hamaker coaxed him back.

According to a 2007 company profile, the drug store was doing $630,000 in estimated annual sales and had 10 employees. I am told that the pharmacy's hard times had to do not just with competition from retail chains but its failure to go on-line -- sort of like Sid at Atlas, who kept his store in his head.

George has now gone to work for Walgreen's at 52nd and Keystone; everyone's friend, Hamaker manager Fred Hauck, is working at Sullivan's Hardware at 49th and Penn and rotating to its other locations.

We wish everyone the best in 2008, both the new buyer and the old guard. Also, it was very nice of Hamaker to allow regular customers to "charge" items and settle up every month. Thanks for that old-fashioned courtesy as well.

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