Patients of Oakdale Pharmacy, an independent pharmacy owned by John Dayton, were given a shock when they received a letter in the mail — after the fact — that the pharmacy had closed its doors and their pharmaceutical needs would be handled by Walgreens, the newest pharmacy chain to open in Oakdale.
Walgreens purchased the Oakdale Pharmacy patient files and recently put a welcome on their marquee to former Oakdale Pharmacy patients.
But not everyone was pleased to go from family-owned to corporate-owned, which suits Ken Cosner, owner of River Oak Pharmacy, just fine.
“We’ve most definitely seen some cross-over,” Cosner said of the recent influx of patients formerly of Oakdale Pharmacy. “Now we’re the only independent pharmacy in town and for people who value the individual touch of an independent pharmacy, we’re ready to welcome them.”
Calls placed to Dayton weren’t returned but sources say that the closure of the Oakdale Pharmacy came about to due to personal reasons.
For the past 22 years, Cosner has been the friendly face and informative resource behind the counter at River Oak, dispensing his patients’ medications and he’s not going anywhere.
“With a locally owned pharmacy, the owner is the pharmacist in charge. There’s a vested interest in the patients. In a chain, everyone working behind the counter is an employee and it’s not the same for the patient,” he said.
While some might prefer the ease and convenience of a drive-up window, Cosner said there are many services an independent pharmacy can offer its patients that are more tailor-made for the patient, such as compounding and bubble packing.
And in the case of compounding, this is something River Oak Pharmacy has always excelled in, said Cosner.
“We’ve developed quite a clientele,” Cosner said of compounding services they’ve been offering for the past 15 years. “We custom make prescriptions for the patient because it’s not available by a manufacturer. That’s a service that’s hard to duplicate in the chain arena. The standard procedure in a chain store is geared toward large numbers and mass production.”
Bubble packing — a labor-intensive and time consuming task — is another service Cosner offers for his patients.
“It’s a custom job for patients who have to take a lot of medications and have a hard time remembering, which ones to take on what day. We put each medication into a sealed package for each day. It’s a big help for a lot of people,” Cosner said. “It’s that kind of paying attention to the details that are a natural extension of what we do.”
Cosner has serviced the pharmaceutical needs of entire families and enjoys getting to know his patients.
“It’s most rewarding when, once in a while, I get a ‘thank you’ for taking care of ‘Mom’ or ‘Dad.’ It feels good to be appreciated,” Cosner said.
When asked if he were worried about the newest pharmacy chain putting the sole independent pharmacy out of business, Cosner was confident of his place in the community, saying, “As people continue to appreciate the local flavor and service that they get from River Oak Pharmacy and as new patients discover what they couldn’t get from a chain, then they will become new, loyal customers.”