Newport Hills Drug closes after 46 years of service

A mechanical frog on display at Cy’s Hallmark could barely finish singing “My Girl” as shoppers searched Wednesday for deals at the store, home to Newport Hills Drug.

The voice of that discounted toy slowed to a drone while its battery power dwindled.

Everything in the store was on sale.

It was a sign of the times at Bellevue’s Newport Hills Shopping Center, where a lack of new business and the down economy have caused two stores to fold this year.

First it was Red Apple Market – the anchor tenant – and now this longstanding drugstore that's been a fixture in the Newport Hills community for 46 years.

"People are very sad," said Joann Weiss, wife of co-owner George Weiss. "Especially with the Red Apple closing, they're worried about this little shopping center going dark here."

Carol Orr has been frequenting the drug store and gift shop for the past 35 years.

"I feel really sad about it closing," she said. "It's just feels like one of those fixtures that you've come to know and enjoy and love, and it's now going to be gone."

Sue Guererro landed her first job working as a clerk with the store in 1978. Now she's a technician in the pharmacy and part-owner of the business.

"It's been great," she said. "The original owners were really great to me. It's been a special place to be."

Guerrero says mail-order prescriptions, the closing of Red Apple, this past icy winter, and the current economy have created a perfect storm that forced the store to draw down this year.

Newport Hills Drug has already shuttered, and Cy's Hallmark will make its final sales on April 25.

Until then, most items at the gift shop are priced to move at 20- to 70-percent off, and shoppers can earn points toward a prize contest that awards electronics.

Newport Hills Drug has transferred all of its prescription files to the Newcastle Safeway Pharmacy (6911 Coal Creek Parkway Southeast), which means customers can get refills there.

"It's really heartbreaking," Guerrero said. "We've had a lot of very loyal customers.

"We all know them on a first-name basis. We're going to miss them."

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