North End pharmacy closes after 55 years

BOSTON (WHDH) - The Green Cross Pharmacy in the North End is closing its doors after more than 50 years in business.

Brothers Peppi and Freddy Giangregorio have seen several eras of North End life come and go after 55 years in business.

“We always said, ‘When we reach 55, we’re going to retire,'” Peppi said. “Fifty-five was 60, 60 was 65.”

Now in their 80s, the brothers close up for good Tuesday night. The pharmacy, bought out by CVS, is another example of a mom and pop shop changing hands in changing times.

“It’s moving us because we developed a friendship and the North End was like a family,” Peppi said.

The brothers came to Boston from Italy when they were just teenagers. They started working at the luncheonette of a pharmacy in the same location in the 1950s before buying the pharmacy from its previous owner in 1964.

Loyal customers say you won’t come across finer gentlemen than Peppi and Freddy.

“For me, it’s a piece of life that’s gone,” Romano Pagliarani said. “I feel that because there is a relation as a friendship, not only as a customer.”

Another customer, James Re, said, “With them leaving, it’s a little bit less of a village and a more like a city.”

With news of their closure spreading, many from the neighborhood have stopped by to share a memory and say goodbye.

“It’s heartbreaking, really,” co-owner Freddy said. “I never expected to be this emotional. I got really attached to my customers, to my people and I find it’s very hard.”

To the community they’ve served for so long, Peppi and Freddy have a simple message: thank you.

“I would like to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for their loyalty, for their friendship, for their patience, and for their patronage,” Freddy said.

“We’ll miss them, we love them, we thank them, and they’re gonna be always in our hearts,” Peppi said.

The brothers close Tuesday night and will be back bright and early on Wednesday to hand the keys off to CVS. They say they have no immediate plan but a much-deserved vacation could come later this spring.

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