by Lisa Tome
Robert Irvine couldn't save Elkton's Lyon's Pharmacy.
But according to store owner Marybeth Sniadowski-Cole, it wasn't lack of business that led to the demise of the pharmacy/luncheonette.
It was the pharmacy business which forced the owner to shut the doors of the pharmacy and the restaurant.
"I'm broken hearted. This is not what we wanted," said Sniadowski-Cole. She said that "underhanded" tactics from Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) led to the downfall. She explained that small pharmacies have to pay upfront or within 15 days for medications.
They wait, months, and sometimes years, for reimbursement. "Reimbursement was not timely," she said. There was also a fee that pharmacies pay.
"I've been in the business for 33 years. Pharmacy regulations changed 100 percent during that time and crippled the industry," she said. She also said big box stores and mail order had a huge impact.
"I did this (job) because of my love for this town and for my family. I love this town. I live here. I'm still going to be active in this town. That's me and my family," she said.
Last Tuesday, she was working to find other employment for the six staffers who remained in the final days. Sniadowski-Cole closed the doors on Tuesday, October 31. The pharmacy part of the business shut down six days earlier.
She confirmed that the building was sold. "A corporation has bought the building. They will have their own announcement. They may have employment (for her staff)," she said. "The Elkton Alliance was instrumental in helping with negotiations. Their tireless effort is the reason we have a quick turnaround."
There's a great deal of history in that building. For Sniadowski-Cole, that's where she fell in love. She met her husband, former County Commissioner Ed Cole at the business in 1994. They married in 1997. "He would come in and get a milk shake," she said.
In 2015, Robert Irvine and the show Restaurant Impossible performed a renovation in the building. Tony Sniadowski, Jr., who owned the business before his daughter, died in June 2013.
Lyon's has a rich history on Elkton's Main Street. The store has been there since the 1800s. In 1896, it was the former Frazer's General Store. In June 1961, Tony Sniadowski took over the store after working there as an apprentice to the former owner. In addition to his work as a pharmacist, he was also known for his cooking skills. The salad dressing and crab cakes which he made, were served up in the luncheonette at Lyon's.