Three pharmacies, Burke's, in Reisterstown, Burke's, in Parkville, and Chestnut AID Pharmacy, in Hampden, are closing.

It's not the economy, said Pat Burke, who owns all three.

"It's just time," said Burke, 47. "I'm tired."

He said it is hard to keep up with government and insurance regulations that change and get tougher every year, and that insurance companies are increasingly pushing customers toward mail order pharmacies or chains "that they're in bed with."


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He's not selling the three stores because, "It's hard to sell independent drugstores, especially three."

The Hampden store's seven employees were still telling customers who walked in the door Tuesday about the impending closing.

"That's terrible," said Donna Bock, 66. "I've been coming here 40 years. It's old-timey. That's what I liked about it."

Asked where she would go now, she said, "RiteAid, I guess."

Burke said he's going to work for Rite-Aid in Reisterstown.

Geno Carapico, 64, of Hampden, has been coming to the Hampden store for 25 years and buys lottery tickets every day, always playing the same numbers.

Harris, working the cash register and lottery machine, said she knows Carapico's lottery numbers by heart.

"I dream about those numbers," she said.

"It's sad, but it's the future," Carapico said of the store's last day.

"I'm going to miss you guys the most," Harris said.

Larry Perl