In “Star Trek,” the Starship Enterprise never featured an onboard retail pharmacy. But if it did, it might look something like eRxCity, which opened in May on the corner of Canal and Mott sts. in New York’s Chinatown, founded by sisters Yvonne Tsang and Priscilla Cheung (née Tsang).
Coming into pharmacy from finance and information technology backgrounds allowed the founders to design the store themselves. Drawing on the idea of “going green,” the Cheungs opted for a clean, minimalistic layout, enlisting the help of an architect friend who had the idea of building the shelving in the middle of the store from transparent glass. Shelves along the wall, rather than protruding ones, are set inside lighted, green-trimmed alcoves.
In addition to products typically found in a drug store, the store stocks many natural and organic products otherwise unavailable in Chinatown and often inaccessible to residents due to language barriers, as well as personal care products imported from Asia and traditional Chinese OTC drugs and supplements. On the pharmacy counter is a glass sculpture of a cabbage mounted on a wooden platform that reads “baicai,” a Chinese play on words that, depending on the tone, can mean either Chinese cabbage or “a hundred times’ wealth.” The Cheungs didn’t get their ideas for the store from science fiction, but contemporary with a view toward the future is what they have in mind.