They also carry some specialty items (organic soaps, hard to find beauty aids, ethnic items) which are always fun to try, and best of all, if there’s something special you want, they’ll actually order it for you!!! No, there isn’t a lot of shiny chrome and slick “merchandising” here – ESCO AIN’T Sephora/Duane Reade, and THANK GOODNESS for THAT!!!
When Duane Reade (recently bought out by Walgreen’s) began taking over the area, I worried if ESCO would succumb to a big cash buyout like all the others, but much to surprise and delight, the owner steadfastly refused to cave in, and remained the single-owner, Mom & Pop gem that it is today. If you appreciate this kind of old fashioned loyalty and great customer service, come by and meet the entire crew, support their efforts on behalf of the community, and tell them that Robert Kim personally sent you :)
It’s one of the few places I could find in Manhattan that sells pepper spray, and it was well worth the trip from City Hall. The pharmacy desk workers were friendly, patient, and knowledgeable, and the young man who rung me up went above and beyond by voluntarily getting some scissors out to open the pepper spray package for me so I could get my self defense on ASAP.
5 stars for superior service and good store hours (close at 9pm, at least during the week – not sure about weekends).
Some quick(ish) backstory– When I moved to Hell’s Kitchen, there was a DR right across the street. Greeeat. I filled some emergency prescriptions and found the staff just as incompetent as any other location. Then when I got a year-long prescription, I went in and stood behind a guy who was begging for this moron of a pharmacist to give him the pills that were supposed to be waiting for him. It finally hit me– why do I do this? I took a stroll and ended up on 57th street at a CVS. I spent over a year getting my prescriptions filled by them (miserably) until finally one day I got in a huge screaming fight with one of the pharmacists and walked out. Time for a new pharmacy… and now the options are seriously limited.
I saw some good reviews of Esco, and despite it being super outdated and creepy looking, I was willing to try anything. I handed them the slip of paper, wrote down my name, and within 5 minutes I had pills in my hand. Not “come back tomorrow”, not “in an hour”… 5 minutes! Ever since, I have never waited more than 5 minutes for prescriptions. I don’t even call ahead– just walk in, say my name, browse for a second, and it’s done.
The staff are super nice– not creeps at all– unlike the rest of the clientele who are only there for Western Union and lotto tickets. It’s classy like that. Most of the stuff on the shelves has a layer of dust, but it’s cheap for the area and paper towels don’t expire.
If you live in HK and need a neighborhood pharmacy– Esco is it!