Burch Pharmacy, an independent drugstore that's anchored the corner of Hennepin and Franklin avenues in south Minneapolis for decades, will close at the end of April.

Owner Cal Mathieson, 64, said Sunday that he's retiring, but had wanted to sell the drugstore rather than see it close.

"I've been trying to sell it since last fall but got no interest in it whatsoever," he said from his home in Plymouth. "Independent drugstores are having a tough time these days, and someone would have to pretty much start over."

Mathieson has owned the pharmacy for the past 10 years. In a recent interview in the Twin Cities business publication Finance & Commerce, he said challenges included the rise of third-party pharmacy benefit managers that cut into reimbursements for retail pharmacy operators, and the mail-order business.

Mathieson said Walgreens has offered to buy some of the store's inventory and prescription files. The pharmacy employs about 15 people. The building will be available for lease.

The pharmacy has been a landmark for almost 80 years and has long been known for its selection of magazine and games. In 2000, its window displays were chosen as Best of Minneapolis by City Pages.

Perhaps its most famous patron was Paul McCartney, who was observed shopping for cards in November 2005. In an item in the Star Tribune, Mathieson said McCartney told him about his bicycle ride around nearby lakes and how he enjoyed not being "knee-deep in snow."