As many pharmacies did in the early part of the 20th century, Bellevue Drug Company began as a drug store with an old-fashioned soda fountain. Founded in 1950 by George and Marie Varga, this community landmark at 3rd and Bellevue has been a cornerstone in downtown Hammonton ever since. This independent, family-run, retail pharmacy added son, Nicholas, when he graduated from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy in 1956. Nick took over the reins with unmatched fervor.
Nick worked unbelievable hours, 7 days a week, to create possibly the best independent pharmacy in South Jersey. ALWAYS caring about the customer. ALWAYS reinvesting in the business to keep current with market trends. ALWAYS providing the very best service for his customers. Nick’s philosophy was simple: “How can I make a difference today—how can I make someone’s life more enjoyable today?” He had instilled that philosophy into his corporate culture.
In 1970, the soda fountain was removed and the store was modernized as part of the first stages of renovation. The era of the computer had also arrived—Bellevue Drug Company was one of the first pharmacies in South Jersey to employ a computer system to process prescriptions. In order to expand into new markets, Nick also cited the need to offer home medical equipment and supplies to his community. He was certainly correct! This portion of the business has met a growing need within the community and moving forward, Bellevue Drug had achieved JCAHO Accreditation.
In 1996 Nick’s daughter, Carla Garrison, became Chief Operating Officer, leading the company into the new millennium. Remodeling, renovating, and keeping pace with advancing and improved technologies, Bellevue Drug remained in the forefront of area independent pharmacies. With an exceptional team of employees and continual staff training, the result—as usual—was better service for customer.
In 2015 Nick Varga and Carla Garrison made the decision to sell their business. They had discussed the importance of a continuity plan and while Nick was mourning the loss of his beloved wife Isabel, he and Carla were facing the realities of his advancing age and Carla’s terminal cancer diagnosis. In keeping with their tradition, they endeavored to find an owner or owners who placed the same high values of community and service at the forefront of their business. We mourn the loss of Carla Garrison since June, 2015 and her father, Nick Varga since January, 2016.
June, 2015 brought new owners to Bellevue Drug, and commitment to the community is stronger than ever. We welcome Smitha Dasari, R.Ph. and her partner, Jigar Patel, PharmD and they, along with their dedicated and knowledgeable staff, will carry on the legacy of Nicholas Varga and guide Bellevue Drug into the future. By providing the highest quality pharmaceutical services and supplies, and constantly seeking innovative ways to remain a vital part of the Hammonton community and all of South Jersey, Bellevue Drug Company will attain the goal of being the best independent retail pharmacy in the area.