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[whitespace] Ray Rossi is selling all that's left of Saratoga Drug Store

Saratoga--The shelves are sparse these days at the Saratoga Drug Store, but if nothing else the store is very well traveled lately.

Under normal circumstances such business might be a good thing, but for drugstore owner Ray Rossi and his family, the clearance certainly is bittersweet.

"There's a lot of emotion involved," Rossi's wife, Francine, said.

Even the shelves and store fixtures are going quick, as business startups from as far away as San Jose have been stopping by to take advantage of the good deals on the cheap display items.

A sign above one of the counters lists the big items left for sale--about half are already sold. Anything that's left in the store, he said, will probably go to charity.

Rossi said he plans on being completely out of the historic Big Basin Way shop by Aug. 31. Ross filled his last prescription on Aug. 20. The next day, a truck came and took away the remainder of the store's pharmaceuticals.

"The store's empty, compared to what it usually looks like," Rossi said. "But there's still a lot of stuff in here. I'm getting a lot of customers coming in who say they don't even want the discount. Then again, I'm also getting others who have never been in here before and are asking for 50 percent."

And so the end is near for the Saratoga Drug Store.

Over the course of Rossi's three-year legal battle over his lease with the property's owner, Marcelle Bloxham, the Saratoga News has printed more than once that Rossi would be leaving. This time, it's certain.

On Aug. 1, Rossi said, he would have begun celebrating his 22nd year as owner of the store, which he took over from the Silveira family.

At the beginning of July, Rossi lost a bid to appeal a previous court decision that determined the store could not stay in its spot. The ruling effectively ended the lingering lease dispute, leaving no choice for Rossi but to leave.

Now, all of the drugstore's prescription files will be handled by Sav-On Drugs inside the Lucky supermarket at El Paseo Shopping Center, on the corner of Saratoga Avenue and Quito Road.

The few dozen customers that depend on Rossi's delivery service have been referred to two stores in Los Gatos. Ironically, one of the stores is the new Silicon Valley Pharmacy on Winchester Boulevard--the store, formerly the Rinconada Pharmacy, recently lost its lease and was forced to move from its Pollard Road location to make way for a new Longs. After some 1,000 Los Gatans signed a petition protesting Longs plans, however, the Los Gatos Planning Commission denied the Longs application. The other pharmacy in Los Gatos is the Drive-In Pharmacy on Los Gatos-Saratoga Road.

"We made sure they're aware of where they can go," he said.

And the drugstore's customers are making sure the Rossis and the five staffers know they're appreciated.

Saratoga resident and real estate agent Isabella Markovsky is planning on throwing a sendoff for the drugstore, tentatively scheduled for Sept. 3 at the Saratoga Community Center.

"She's really determined," Rossi said. "It's just going to be an informal thing."

That may be, but Markovsky at least wants to recognize the store for its service to the community.

"It's nothing," she said. "But why not? They're nice people; somebody has to do it. It's sad to say, but they're some of the last really nice people in the area. It'll be nice for the community."

Markovsky said she received many responses to a letter to the editor she sent to the Saratoga News last month, but is hoping for more. Those interested can call Markovsky at 741-1139.
Steve Enders

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Web extra to the August 26-September 1, 1999 issue of Metro.

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