CVS Pharmacy is due to open on Jan. 27 in a space of about 7,000 square feet that was left vacant by the closing of ShopRite Annex about a decade ago.
The store, at 107 Morristown Road (Route 202), is in the center of Bernardsville's commercial zone. CVS received approvals from the Bernardsville Planning Board at the end of 2011.
"We are very happy to see the new store, and the new facade, and they have done a great job of improving the site," said Bernardsville Councilman Joseph Rossi.
He said he believed the vacant space — empty for at least a decade — had been a detriment to the town. Although he added another pharmacy might not have been what was most needed locally, the new CVS "will bring new business to the community, and will help other retail businesses in their endeavors," Rossi said.
The manager of the new CVS Pharmacy, Phil Kelly, said major renovations had been undertaken to prepare for the store's planned opening. He added that the closest CVS location is off Route 202/206 in Bedminster.
In Bernardsville, the CVS is located not far from a RiteAid Pharmacy at the corner of North Finley Avenue and Route 202, and from ShopRite supermarket, which had operated ShopRite Annex before it closed.
Nevertheless, Kelly said he has been receiving positive feedback from nearby residents about CVS's arrival.
"They're just happy — it's better than a vacant space. It's something for the community," he said. Many shoppers from nearby Basking Ridge also shop at the supermarkets and other stores in Bernardsville.
Kelly said the CVS in Bernardsville will be similar to other stores, but will have some extra features, such as a frozen foods section and other food items such as cake mixes. The Bernardsville store will have an expanded beauty product section, including a skin care line from Europe that is unique to the area, he said.
Kelly said the plans for the new CVS had been in the works for about a year, but major renovations began last August.
He said much work needed to be done, including electrical updates and other improvements to bring the space up to current building codes. "The floors weren't level," he noted.
CVS received a waiver for facade improvements from the borough Planning Board in November 2011, with that decision and related approvals memorialized at the Planning Board meeting in December 2011, said Michael Mondok, zoning officer in Bernardsville.
CVS's application before the board asked for no changes in retail use, building area or parking, other than restriping, according to information from the zoning department. CVS also agreed to comply with hours for deliveries and operation of between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m., as imposed on similar nearby shopping centers and building uses.
With the planned opening just a few weeks away, Kelly said he still is looking for employees. He said he can be reached at the store number, 908-221-0871.