By Scott Carlson
After more than 100 years in business, the Prospect Park neighborhood’s vulnerable Schneider Drug store, 3400 University Ave. S.E, shuttered its doors for good on May 1.
Jim Stage, Schneider Drug’s owner and pharmacist, blamed changes in medical insurance reimbursement practices during the past year for putting a squeeze on the longtime pharmacy’s revenue. He also alluded to growing redevelopment pressures along the University Avenue corridor with the advent of the light-rail transit line passing by his store.
“Things (development) are changing with the Green Line,” Stage said. “The real estate is changing, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this (drugstore) building becomes part of the University Avenue boom.”
Schneider Drug’s closing marks a further loss in the Twin Cities’ roster of independent drugstores. Stage, who also owns Lloyd’s Pharmacy and Setzer Pharmacy in St. Paul, bought Schneider Drug in 2015 from Tom Sengupta, who owned the store from 1972 to 2015. Before Sengupta, Earl Schneider owned the drugstore, which Stage said dates back to 1898.
On its last day in business, customers like Brenda Eccleston, said they were sad to see Schneider Drug closing shop. “It has a great neighborhood feel and accessibility,” she said.
While Stage made a few changes to Schneider Drug when he bought it from Sengupta in 2015, the store retained much of its old-time feel, with wooden counters and file drawers and an ample display of vintage Coca-Cola memorabilia, including namesake canisters and trays. At one time, the store even had a café.
“I will miss the community and the people who came here,” Stage said. “I am gratified to have had four years to serve the public and all of our patrons.”