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Lang's Pharmacy Closes, Marking End of Era

Longtime owner Diana Levison has sold the store on Elm Street to Walgreen's.

A New Canaan institution is now closed.

which served the town since 1925 and was owned by and her family for 35 years, closed its doors on Tuesday at 136 Elm Street, marking the end of an era.

"It was a combination of a business decision and a quality [of] life decision," Levison said. "There's so many people I care about. I've been here over 30 years myself. It's a family business and I know so many people and their children and now their children's children. I would've done it a couple of years ago, but I wanted to make sure every one of my employees was taken care of in a way that would make them happy."

Levison said she's been trying to sell the store since the summer and acknowledged that she attempted to make a deal with an individual, but it fell through. Levison eventually sold her store to pharmacy giant and regrets not being able to tell her customers about the sale. However, that was forbidden as per her contract with the new owners.

"I chose Walgreens because I think they're efficient, they treat their employees fairly and they will take care of my customers,"  Levison, who also owns in Weston, told Patch. "They have all the pharmacy records and insurance information. It's going to be as painless and seamless as possible." 

Levison and several of her employees spent Tuesday packing boxes and making sure that Walgreens had everything it needed to make a smooth transition. Rich Zaccone, district manager of Walgreens, said customers of Lang's Pharmacy would be taken care of quickly by his store.

"Their prescription information and their prescription history should be available immediately. We've transferred computer data and as long as that's been successful and accurate, everything should be good," he said. "If not, the first time customers are in the store, we might have to gather some information and it should be seamless from then on out."

Longtime customers of Lang's Pharmacy were stunned to see the doors closed and drapes hanging in the windows of the store as they strolled by it on Tuesday morning.

"I'm very sad. I hate to see the small local businesses that are hurting so badly and have to go out of business, "Kathleen Redman, a New Canaan resident for 16 years, said "As soon as Walgreens came to town and there were two big-box pharmacies [ being the other] it was going to be difficult for Lang's to compete and make a profit. They don't have the financial depth a big-box store has."

Carl Franco, co-owner of's Wine Merchants, was saddened when he saw the sign in Lang's Pharmacy window Tuesday morning indicating the store had been sold to Walgreens. His store is just two doors down from Lang's and he said he's going to miss everything Levison brought to Elm Street.

"I was surprised because it had been so quiet," Franco said. "It seemed to happen so quickly. I was just as surprised as anyone else. Diana is a great gal. I know she still has a place in Weston and I'm sure she's just going to concentrate on the one there."

Added Diane Roth, owner of whose store is just around the corner from Lang's Pharmacy on Park Street. "Oh, my God, this is terrible.' That was my first reaction. It reflects the changing economy and it's sad to lose owner-operated stores in this town. We're getting down to a handful of stores that have longevity. Do you want [New Canaan] to be a roofless mall? You don't want chain stores."

on Main Street competed with Lang's Pharmacy for customers in New Canaan for decades, reacted the way many people did in town after hearing the news, "I was really surprised. There's nothing more I can say," Kahni Shah, pharmacist for Varnum's, said.

As tears welled in her eyes, Levison reflected on what she will miss the most after more than 30 years in New Canaan. “There are a lot of special people I'm going to miss," she said. "A lot of really special people."

Chris Cross March 16, 2012 at 02:54 PM
What a shame to lose a local, family business to corporate giants. Another Walmart or CVS? Yeah, they'll add character to a town. Support your local businesses!!

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