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Zoning board gives preliminary OK for drug store application

Posted 3/29/16 (Tue)

By Cecile Wehrman
Crosby’s planning and zoning board on Monday recommended approval for a Renaissance Zone (RZ) application for a group seeking to purchase J. Co. Drug.
The application was presented by Community Developer KayCee Lindsey on behalf of  Crosby Drug, LLC, which is made up of five pharmacists -- Tim Joyce, Tioga; Terry Dick, Stanley; Gabe Gratz, Williston; Howard Anderson, Turtle Lake; and Mark Hardy, Bismarck.
“Our goal is to help I.J. (Jacobson) to retire and someone to stay there and be the new I.J.,” said Joyce, who was not present for the meeting.
The two zoning board members who heard the request  noted they did not have a quorum but both said the application fits the goals of the RZ.
“This is definitely a high priority,” said Troy Vassen, zoning board member. “It definitely is an essential service.”
“It’s wonderful that someone is investing in it,” said Traci Lund, board member.
In an interview last week, Joyce said North Dakota has a strong commitment to maintaining locally owned pharmacies. He hopes the Crosby deal,  by a group of independent pharmacists, might become a model helping more pharmacists transition into retirement.
As far as he knows, Joyce said, such a model has been tried only one other time -- in Kenmare about 15 years ago.
Joyce said it can be difficult to find young pharmacists interested in making a long term commitment in a rural area or one capable of the financial commitment of buying an existing business. 
Joyce said the ownership transition is expected to occur by mid-April.
Zoning board members were  pleased to hear the application applies to the acquisition of the entire business, with the intention of keeping the Hallmark brand.
Current owners, Bev and I.J. Jacobson will lease the building to the new group. 
The 5 year, 100 percent state  income tax forgiveness allowed under the state’s RZ law, is available when a business changes hands but no property tax exemption is available on leased buildings.