By John Alexander
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Bridge Pharmacy in Bay Ridge received a certificate on Thursday thanking it for helping to raise money for the March of Dimes. John Quaglione, co-chairman of the Brooklyn Committee of the March of Dimes, presented the award.
Quaglione, deputy chief of staff to state Sen. Marty Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-Southwest Brooklyn), is currently a Republican candidate for City Council in the 43rd District (Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst).
March of Dimes Brooklyn Committee Co-Chairman John Quaglione with Maria Georgakopoulos and the staff of the Bridge Pharmacy, receiving a certificate for raising money for the March of Dimes.
"Bridge Pharmacy immediately stepped up to the plate and agreed to help raise money for the March of Dimes to help give babies a healthy start at life. As a longtime customer, I now consider myself a friend to Maria, Steve and many of the staff. My family and the March of Dimes cannot thank them enough for being part of this campaign."
Bridge Pharmacy, located at 8912 Third Ave. is one of the last so-called mom-and-pop shops in the neighborhood. In an area brimming with multiple Rite Aid, CVS and Duane Reade pharmacies, Bridge is a wonderful throwback to days gone by, when the pharmacist behind the counter greeted you warmly and knew your family members by name.
Maria Georgakopoulos and Stephen Cilento are two of those pharmacists who pride themselves on knowing their customers and treating them like family. When Rite Aid opened a store on the corner of 93rd Street and Third Avenue, it offered Georgakopoulos and Cilento jobs in its pharmacy department. Georgakopulos had previously worked at Ridge Pharmacy and Cilento at Victory Pharmacy on Fourth Avenue. But both politely declined Rite Aid’s offer and decided to open their own business together.
“[Stephen and I] both formed a partnership at Bridge Pharmacy in August 1998,” said Georgakopoulos. “We were both working for the same owner in more than one location, myself since 1984 and Stephen since 1991. Our friendship and business has flourished into a wonderful world of memories, resulting in our customers becoming like family to us.”
One of the benefits of running a family-oriented store is having loyal customers, the two said. Recently, Bridge Pharmacy asked those customers to contribute what they could to the March of Dimes. With each contribution, the names of the individuals were strung together throughout the store. The result was a sizable donation collected for the organization.
“Stephen and I would like to thank our community for its support as we enter our 20th year in business,” Georgakopoulos told the Brooklyn Eagle. “We have been serving Bay Ridge for close to three decades, the last 19 [years] together as co-owners of Bridge Pharmacy. In an era of big box stores, our mom-and-pop business would not have been possible without the continued loyalty of our customers.”
Georgakopoulos is also grateful to the community for its support of their recent March of Dimes campaign. “What started with a small request from one of our neighbors, Natalie Quaglione, turned into an outpouring of support that made us again see what an outstanding neighborhood we are part of.”
Natalie Quaglione is the daughter of John and Kerry Quaglione; Kerry is the assistant principal at P.S.127 in Bay Ridge. Natalie was born two-months premature in 2011. Although Natalie is a healthy young girl, the Quagliones are aware that other children and their families who aren’t as fortunate need the help and support of the March of Dimes.
"For my family and I, the March of Dimes is important to our lives because my first daughter was born eight weeks early,” said Quaglione. “And for my second baby, my wife was treated by medicine developed in the March of Dimes research labs. We are blessed to have two beautiful and healthy daughters, and that is why we have committed ourselves to the fight to end premature births."
August 18, 2017 - 2:10pm