The anticipated other shoe dropped this week when Big Y Foods announced it will be closing its pharmacy at 2 Bank St. in New Milford and consolidating its services at the Big Y store across the Housatonic River.
That move will mark the end of an era for downtown New Milford and will herald a new era of opportunity for the downtown business community.
When Big Y bought the pharmacy -- then called the New Milford Pharmacy -- from the Salisbury Pharmacy Group a year and a half ago, many residents and town officials predicted it wouldn't be long before Big Y consolidated its two stores.
They were right.
And when local businessman Gary Goldring bought the building last month, the handwriting was on the wall for Big Y's imminent departure from the Village Green.
The move, scheduled for August, will leave the village center without a pharmacy for the first time in memory.
For decades, two mom-and-pop stores -- the Slone Pharmacy at the head of Bank Street and Lautier's Pharmacy at the foot of the street served the community. And after Lautier's closed, CVS provided a second pharmacy in the heart of the village center until it moved from Main Street to East Street a few years ago.
There will certainly be those who will lament the absence of a pharmacy -- especially a mom-and-pop pharmacy -- within short walking distance of the Green, and whose memories will be stirred about the "good old days."
There will be those, too, who will worry about how long the Big Y pharmacy site will remain vacant -- a valid concern, especially given the length of time the former CVS store on Main Street has sat empty.
The reality, however, is that the public will continue to have its choice of several pharmacies in New Milford.
And looking to the future, Mr. Goldring now has the opportunity to bring in new tenants to the old pharmacy site and to the former Good Sport location just down Bank Street that would contribute to the character and appeal of a new downtown.
The news about the relocation of the pharmacy away from the Green coincides with the arrival of downtown New Milford's biggest event of the year -- the two-day Village Fair Days, which will be held Friday and Saturday.
That fair attracts tens of thousands annually and helps to showcase the town's village center, one of the finest in New England.
We are hopeful that, come the 2013 Village Fair Days, the pharmacy, Good Sport and CVS sites are all filled with attractive, successful businesses.