Community Pharmacy is “Here to Stay”

Sheefa Pharmacy has found success with a formula that’s increasingly rare: personal attention from a staff who know and care about their customers. “People want to discuss their health and personal matters with someone they trust,” explains owner Amjad Abukwaik, “and that’s the reputation we’ve developed.”

A thriving South Paterson business since 1992, Sheefa combines the kind of personalized customer care people might have expected from pharmacists a generation ago with the latest technology and facilities. In fact, two years ago Abukwaik constructed a new building for his 20-employee business, expanding from a 1,000-square-foot store into 4,500-square-feet of new space. Located on Main Street, his building, the Medical Plaza, also houses an independent lab and physicians’ offices.

About 40 percent of Sheefa’s customers are of Middle Eastern descent, although Abukwaik points out that any successful business in Paterson attracts people of many backgrounds. “This is a very, very diverse city,” he explains. “It’s also a city friendly to independent mom-and-pop businesses like ours—not just to national chains.”

Sheefa’s success has led to multiple buyout offers, but Abukwaik has declined. “We are a community pharmacy, and we believe in giving something back,” he says. “We love and enjoy what we’re doing, and we’re here to stay.”

Motor Vehicle Commission Expands Paterson Office

Plans are already underway to expand Paterson’s Motor Vehicle Commission office, which opened just four years ago in the city’s Public Safety Garage Complex. The downtown MVC office has brought a new level of convenience to the residents of Paterson and has seen an unexpectedly large volume of business—just one sign of the success of the multi-use Garage Complex.

Built by the Paterson Parking Authority in partnership with Passaic County Community College, the garage was designed to combine parking and retail. In addition to the MVC Office, now expanding to fill the entire second floor, the complex houses a branch of City National Bank and a Subway restaurant. Talks are underway to bring a tenant to the remaining unoccupied space in the building, says Tony Perez, of the Parking Authority.

“For many years,” Perez explains, “the MVC did not have an office in Paterson, and residents had to travel to other communities to get licenses and handle other tasks. Now the office is within easy reach. In fact, people who work, shop, or live in the downtown area can walk there.”

The expanded facility will also offer expanded services—similar to those offered through MCV regional offices.

Plans are taking shape now to fit out the space for the facility. Perez says he anticipates that it will likely be ready for occupancy sometime in the spring.