Bruce Smith Drugs still shuttered after Jan. 1 reopening target, store now faces law suit for $140,000 in back payments

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Bruce Smith Drugs’ path to reopening at the Village Shops appears to have gotten significantly rockier this week.

Several patrons at the shopping center saw a notice taped to the store’s front window Wednesday that summoned the owners to a hearing in Johnson County District Court next week. The legal entity that owns the shops, GRI Prairie Village, a subsidiary of First Washington Realty, is seeking more than $140,000 in missed rent payments from the drugstore owners.

Bruce Smith owners did not respond to requests for comment to the shop by email and phone on Wednesday. GRI would not comment specifically on the lawsuit, but did issue the following statement on the situation:

“We have been working with the Bruce Smith organization for several months to achieve a satisfactory solution for all parties following the store closing and are still in that process. Supporting the local businesses that make Prairie Village a special place is a responsibility that we hold dear.”

The store closed on Nov. 7 with owners suggesting that they hoped to be reopen in early December after undertaking efforts to reorganize the business. When the December target passed, owner Debbie Richmond said she was looking to be open by the first of the new year. The store has remained shuttered since.

The company’s financial troubles became more and more evident leading up to the closing in the fall. Stocks on the shelves were notably thin, and many pharmacy customers had a hard time fulfilling prescriptions for common medications. First opened in 1955, Bruce Smith Drugs was the second longest-running operation at the Village Shops. Spangler’s opened a year earlier than Bruce Smith in 1954.