Tooth in advertising: Drugstore’s bold, refreshing look

Tooth in advertising: Drugstore’s bold, refreshing look
Photo by Steve Schnibbe

This Brooklyn Heights pharmacy looks like the inside of a tube of mint-flavored, whitening toothpaste.

The owner of Careland Pharmacy has spent the past 10 months transforming a former video store on Clark Street, next door to Hotel Saint George. He is hoping that the eye-catching interior, combined with a mom-and-pop approach to customer service, will pull customers from the plentiful chain pharmacies in the neighborhood.

“At a private pharmacy we know your name,” Ayman Tawadros said. “We know you. You’re important to us.”

Tawadros owned a pharmacy on Seventh Avenue in Park Slope for a decade, then opened a new store on bucolic Staten Island a year-and-a-half ago. He is glad to be returning to Brooklyn, he said.

“We’re happy to be back in the action. Staten Island is nice, but it’s kind of quiet,” he said.

The new storefront is located in a landmarked building between Henry Street and Monroe Place, in the space that for more than two decades housed Mr. Video III, which closed late last year. The renovated shop features a long window that the designer, Sergio Mannino, chose to leave unobstructed, offering a wide-open look at the bright, white-and-green space inside.

“If you want to open yourself up to your customers, you have to be completely open,” Mannino said, adding that most chain pharmacies cover up their windows.

Mannino also decided to preserve the long, wavy wall that held display racks packed with the latest blockbusters during the store’s previous life. He said the meandering shelves of merchandise lay out what the store has to offer.

“We didn’t want to block any of the walls with tall shelving,” Mannino said. “We wanted to maximize the visibility from the street.”

The floor of the new business is lime green and features sketches of different bandages. Mannino designed it himself and had it printed on vinyl.

“We wanted to create something unique,” he said. “And the materials that were available just didn’t interest us.”

The pharmacy will offer customers perks such as free flavoring of kids medicines and courtesy letters reminding that prescriptions need refilling, Tawadros said. He also stressed that unlike the big corporate pharmacies, if one of his customers requests a product he does not carry, he can order it.

“We can be more flexible,” he said. “They can’t order something for just one customer.”

At the end of the day, Tawadros said, the little guys just care more.

“You can just do your job, or you can do your job and make someone happy at the same time,” he said. “There’s always something extra you can do.”

Reach reporter Matthew Perlman at (718) 260–8310. E-mail him at mperl‌man@c‌ngloc‌al.com. Follow him on Twitter @matthewjperlman.
Welcome to the neighborhood: Careland Pharmacy owner Ayman Tawadros hopes his flashy interior design will draw in customers.
Photo by Steve Schnibbe