GREENVILLE — Ron Bonfiglio is predicting Saturday is going to be a long day.
It’s the day of Greenville Pharmacy’s liquidation auction at 530-532 S. Broadway.
“I don’t know how they’ll get it done in one day,” he said. “I’m ready to get rid of everything. There is so much; it’s unreal. We’re selling the fixtures and inventory.”
Bonfiglio said the drugstore closed its doors a year and a half ago.
“The older people are dying off and the older customers are going to chain stores to get their medications,” he said.
Everything that will be sold Saturday includes items that were there when he and brother Richard “Bud” opened at that location on April 30, 1956.
Ron and son Steve, and other family members as well as a team from Midwest Auctioneers have been busy the past month preparing for the auction. And, it’s been overwhelming, they admit.
“We’ll be working up to the end,” Ron said.
Ron, who worked at two pharmacies in Lima before opening one up in Greenville, said his brother, Bud, was working in Fostoria at a pharmacy when they decided to go into business together.
“Bud told his boss he bought a pharmacy and right away he was fired,” Ron recalled. “But, Bud was already packed and ready to move.”
Ron’s son, Steve, and Bud’s son, Randy, took over. Later, Randy went off to become a doctor.
“We bought Central Drugs across the street when Jackie Gueth developed breast cancer,” Ron said. “We bought out John Whitecotten’s pharmacy on the circle because he went to moved away. We moved Frank Langdon of Central Drug to Whitecotten’s and turned Central into a soda fountain, and we bought Bob Startzman out in Ansonia. We also bought one in Versailles that is now an insurance agency. We had prescription files and merchandise in Versailles a couple of years.”
Another pharmacy was purchased in Winchester, Ind., which they operated for five years and they opened the one up at Sutton’s Super Valu in Arcanum, which they closed two years ago.
“We had five stores at one time,” said Ron, who retired four years ago.
Some of their longtime employees were Ruth Harris, Thelma Collins and Ruby Allread.
“Ruby was still working here even after I quit,” Ron said.
He misses the customers.
“We had a lot of loyal customers,” Ron said. “When I came in 1956, we didn’t fill one new prescription a day. Thelma Collins was a great cook and kept us in business.”
According to Bonfiglio, the pharmacy on South Broadway had been a funeral home owned by Charles and Edna Albright.
“Her art work hangs in Garst Museum,” he said.
When the Bonfiglios bought it, it was known as Engelken Nyal Drug Store, which they purchased for $16,000. The sign from the Nyal Drug Store will be auctioned off Saturday among the other items.
While going through the items to be sold, Ron found a comic strip that was written the day he graduated from high school. It was in an old newspaper used for packing.
The inventory that will be auctioned off will include 10 cases of collectible Coke bottles; other bottles that held medications; Beanie Babies; wheelchairs; walkers; electric scooters; collectibles and antiques that have been preserved since the late 1800s; display cases; stained glass windows from the funeral home; apothecary jars; pill boxes; neon signs; scales; clocks; soda fountain/cooler; cigar store size humidor; cabinets; dairy bottles; office equipment; cash registers; children’s books; jewelry; greeting cards; colognes/perfumes; figurines; medical and dental care products; shelving; and leather sports jackets.
It’s probably going to be an emotional day for the Bonfiglio family, too.
“I put my four kids through pharmacy school and Bud put three through medical school,” Ron said. “It was all paid for out of our store.”
John Neiswander, who started Midwest Auctioneers 35 years ago, has been helping a lot in preparing for the sale. Mike Baker will be auctioneer.
“I was lucky to be born into a family that worked together,” Ron said. “Our business continued to grow. At one time, we ran four retail stores, the hospital pharmacy and served three nursing homes. We were filling more than 600 prescriptions a day.”
He concluded, “Trust is vital to our lives along with service and crucial to our dealings with others. Always demand respect but know that it is something that is earned.”