FAIRMONT — Two years after announcing a name change from Rider’s Pharmacy to Rider’s Cards, Gifts and More, the Rider family has announced it is closing its doors next month.
“On December 30, 2021, Rider’s Cards, Gifts, and More will close its doors, ending an era of community support, service, and commitment by the Rider family and our staff that we believe is unparalleled in the history of Fairmont and Marion County,” owner Jonathan Rider said in a statement. “We chose this date, New Year’s Eve, because it is both a time of reflection and looking toward the future with hope.”
In early December 2019, Rider announced the family-owned pharmacy — whose roots date to 1939 — would cease filling prescriptions on Dec. 19, 2019 and transfer its client prescriptions to CVS on Third Street.
In his statement, Rider — who bought the business from his father in 2001 — cited the economic restraints brought about by the COVID-19, “stay-at-home orders, and other crises” as playing a role in the decision to close the gift shop, located at 303 Merchant St.
He also cites the 2017 misappropriation of funds by a former employee as having had a long-term negative impact on the business as well.
“Rider’s Cards, Gifts, and More has done our best to weather these changes and challenges, which were immeasurably increased by our discovery in February 2017 of serious inconsistencies in the company’s accounting,” Rider states. “When it was finally uncovered, the answer was both complex and straightforward: For several years, a longtime employee had been misappropriating funds.”
Rider’s Cards, Gifts, and More began in 1939 as Bennett’s Pharmacy, when family businesses were the mainstay of small town America, in an era without the internet and online shopping, shopping malls and big box retailers. By 1967, when it became Rider’s Pharmacy, the landscape had changed again as malls and chain drug stores moved into cities.
“Now, despite our best efforts and sincere wish to keep serving our community and our multigenerational clientele, the time has come to make a decision that none of us wished to make. However, it is as undeniable as it is disappointing,” Rider said in the statement.
Rider’s Pharmacy, to many Fairmont residents, was an institution that cared about its customers well-being and closing with be “ending an era of community support, service, and commitment by the Rider family and our staff that we believe is unparalleled in the history of Fairmont and Marion County.”
Rider said every continuous improvement his family made to the physical space of the building and its line of products and services was always made with the customer in mind.
“The mural on the side of our building — designed, drawn, and painted by Bill Leaseburg — demonstrates our longtime support of local arts, our county’s history, and the beautification of our community,” Rider said. “We have served on boards, committees, the Chamber of Commerce and hosted and contributed to numerous events over the decades to support Fairmont, Marion County, and their citizens.
“We now look to the future with hope for our city, our county, and ourselves.”