KATONAH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The small hamlet of Katonah is in a fight with a big drugstore chain that wants to open a new location in the municipality.
As CBS2’s Lou Young reported, the fight in the Westchester County village pits pharmacy giant CVS against the affluent residents of Katonah, many of whom want to keep things quaint in their Bedford town hamlet.READ MORE: More Omicron Cases Identified In New York; Total Rises To At Least 8
“In Katonah, we’re very attached to our local vibe, and I think everyone is very supportive of our local businesses,” said Katonah merchant Laura Lewis.
CVS already has a store in Katonah, but wants to more than double the size at a location closer to, the smaller than, the sprawling round-the-clock operation it has up the road in Bedford Hills. There is a lot of local pushback.
“I think the real character of Katonah is the most important thing, not CVS and making them bigger and more wealthy than they already are,” said Jerry Herlihy of Katonah.
CVS is suing over the Town of Bedford’s proposal that would prevent the expansion by limiting the allowable size of new stores. Similar laws already exist in Mamaroneck, Bronxville, and Sag Harbor.
The chain called it “a thinly veiled proxy to effectively prohibit CVS and other formula stores from entering Katonah or expanding their businesses in existing locations.”READ MORE: Slain Columbia Grad Student Davide Giri Remembered As 'The Nicest And Brightest Person'
The town said that is not the case.
“The law applies to what I would call a mom and pop stores the same way it applies to a national chain store,” said Bedford town attorney Joel Sachs.
To be sure, there are fans of a bigger CVS in Katonah, but none who were willing to go on camera as an agent of change. The best CBS2’s Young came up with was ambivalence about the lack of convenience that comes with a retro business district with so many local stores.
“It’s kind of annoying to drive 15 minutes to go to the Target or something like that, but I do like the Katonah small shops,” said Angela Fain of Katonah. “I can see both sides.”
Katonah made news of a similar fashion roughly 20 years ago, when the village resisted an entrance attempt by Starbucks Coffee.MORE NEWS: 2 Shot Aboard Subway Train In Harlem; Suspect At Large
The CVS issue was expected to be discussed at a zoning hearing Tuesday night.