End of an era: Bruce Smith Drugs announces it will not reopen at the Village Shops

Bruce Smith Drugs staff. File photo.
Bruce Smith Drugs staff. File photo.

It’s been a month of bad news for patrons of longtime retailers at the Village Shops.

In a message on Facebook Wednesday, the Richmond family, which has owned Bruce Smith Drugs for decades, announced that it would not be able to reopen the Prairie Village institution as it had hoped. The message is copied below:

We are so sorry that we have not been able to reopen our doors. We appreciate all our customers that have been a part of our lives over the many years of business. Unfortunately, we have been unsuccessful in our efforts to negotiate a lease beneficial to both our business and the landlord. Other unfavorable business conditions, events and obstacles have forced us to reach a final decision to end our efforts to pursue the reopening of the business.

On behalf of the Richmond family we thank all our customers, employees and Prairie Village community for your loyalty and concern for our business. We are blessed for the many years we have been able to have you in our lives and will miss you all.

Bruce Smith opened at the Village Shops in 1955. The Richmonds closed the pharmacy and gift shop in November and said they hoped to reopen in the following weeks. But their target reopening dates came and went, and financial troubles appeared to mount. Employees said they hadn’t been paid for their final weeks working at the store. (A representative of the family said this week that the back pay to employees had been taken care of). Then landlord GRI Prairie Village, a subsidiary of First Washington Realty out of Bethesda, Mary., filed a lawsuit against the company in Johnson County District Court. Court records show that judge Daniel W. Vokins rendered a decision in favor of the landlord Jan. 13 that compelled Bruce Smith to pay $163,384.58 in back rent and fees plus additional costs and restitution.

Bruce Smith was the second-longest running operation at the Village Shops. The third-longest was Tiffany Town, which announced last week that it was shutting its doors after 52 years in business.