Marcie Davis spent much of Wednesday pointing to the CLOSED sign in the window of White Cross Drugs, the independent downtown drugstore she owns with husband Harvey.
"We're closed," she wearily told a shopper who wandered into the pharmacy.
Earlier this week, Davis announced that White Cross, on the corner of Oakey and Las Vegas Boulevard, would be closing. The pharmacy sold its records to a nearby Walgreens at 1101 Las Vegas Blvd. South effective Wednesday morning, and the drugstore will close March 31. Tiffany's Cafe, the diner tucked in White Cross, is owned separately from the pharmacy and will remain open.
Davis, who has worked at the drugstore for 21 years and bought the business in 2003, said operations were running smoothly until a few months ago. The pharmacy's technicians were filling about 300 prescriptions a day when pharmaceutical supplier Cardinal Health cut off White Cross on Oct. 11, citing "ordering too many controlled drugs," Davis said.
Davis said she didn't realize there was a cap on the number of drugs she could order, and she tried to fill the holes in the pharmacy's stock with a smaller supplier. But it wasn't enough.
"Once you've been cut off, it's hard to contract with somebody else," Davis said.
White Cross' 22 employees, some of whom have worked at the pharmacy for more than 30 years, are losing their jobs. The pharmacy's regulars are being redirected to the nearby Walgreens.
But Las Vegas is losing an institution.
White Cross, the city's first 24-hour pharmacy, opened 60 years ago, serving downtown residents, filling prescriptions for Strip performers the likes of Elvis Presley and members of the Rat Pack, and selling makeup and perfume to showgirls. Before Mac Cosmetics and Sephora, there was White Cross.
Dustin Sampson, manager of Luv-It Frozen Custard on Oakey Boulevard just east of Las Vegas Boulevard, has been a White Cross regular since his childhood days growing up on Casino Center Drive.
"It's a landmark," Sampson said. "I've been going to the cafe inside there for years. There's nothing they can merge with that that seems practical. What are they going to do, open another bar?"
Davis won't be opening anything else in the space White Cross is vacating. She and her husband plan to go into real estate.
Contact reporter Caitlin McGarry at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-5273.