After 100 years in business, a Shorewood landmark is closing its doors. Hayek Pharmacy will say goodbye to its customers officially on Tuesday.
"It’s been a rough day, it’s a lot of hugs and a few crying customers," said Matthew Hayek, the store manager. "No tears yet for me but that will probably come tomorrow."
Hayek's grandfather opened the store in 1918. Matthew has worked there since he was 15 years old and says his father sold the business to the current owner Bill Quandt in the '90s.
Hayek says Quandt's goal was to make it to the 100 year anniversary before retiring. Quandt is 85 years old and also works as a pharmacist at the store.
The second pharmacist is also retiring. Hayek says there was discussion about trying to find a buyer for the store but it didn't work out.
The store still maintains its historic charm with items like an old-fashioned rootbeer barrel and a penny scale that still works.
As a family-run business, Hayek says they competed against big name pharmacies by offering great customer service.
And nearby school children have helped them stay in business through candy sales alone.
"It is a big money maker yes," Hayek said.
They get a lot of visitors during the afternoon rush from students at nearby schools.
"My first thought was that there’s going to be a candy shortage," said Petra Johnson, a local student.
She and her friend Inayah Khan said they come several times a week for candy.
"I was really sad that it was closing because it's one of my favorite places to go," Khan said.
"A lot of the kids were coming up and giving hugs and sad to hear we’re going," Hayek said. "That was nice, to be appreciated."
Hayek also denied rumors that opioid thefts, on the rise at many pharmacies, played a role in the business' decision to close. During the first six months of 2014, Hayek Pharmacy suffered from a string of armed robberies.
Hayek said they did struggle initially but business and customers returned.
They plan to open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Jan. 9 so customers have a chance to visit one last time. On Thursday, Jan. 11 they will hold a liquidation sale at the store.
The departure of Hayek's means old-school pharmacies will be few and far between in Milwaukee. Thompson's Serv-U Drugs and Swan Serv-U Pharmacy will be two of the remaining options.