Kusler’s Pharmacy sells to Rite Aid
Different new owner will take over pharmacy compunding business; novelty and gift products for sale through holiday season
SNOHOMISH - The owners of Kusler’s Pharmacy sold the business to Rite Aid and will stop filling regular prescriptions beginning Nov. 1.
Kusler’s has maintained two different types of pharmacy businesses and sold the two companies separately.
Ownership of the compound prescription business will be transferred to Snohomish resident Dawn Ipsen. Ipsen has been managing the compound prescription business under owner Janet Kusler for several years.
This side of the business is what made Kusler’s a cherished business. Compound pharmacies make special medications based on the individual’s need.
Kusler sold the regular retail prescription business to national drug store chain Rite Aid after considering a few different offers.
Selecting the right store to hand her prescriptions over to wasn’t easy, and she was surprisingly blunt about the loss of good old-fashioned customer service that people will likely lose with Rite Aid.
When asked if customers can expect the same level of service at Rite Aid, Kusler simply responded: “No.”
She added: “I don’t think anybody will give the service that we offer. That has been the most difficult part of the decision that we made. People come in and we spend lots of time with them, and as we move forward, it will be something that will be more and more difficult to get in a pharmacy.”
She wrote an open letter to the community in mid-October, saying that the residents of Snohomish are more than just members of the community, they’re friends: “We remain deeply connected and committed to our town. You are our friends and our community.”
And the feeling, it seems, is mutual: Kusler’s Pharmacy has an impeccable rating on the business review website Yelp. All six ratings give Kusler’s five out of five stars, which is rare for any business, and rarely seen for a business like a pharmacy.
“I think people will get good service (at Rite Aid), but I don’t think anybody out there can give the service level that we’ve given over the years,” Kusler said. “I think we were unique.”
The other end of the shop that sells gifts, kitchen wares and wine will remain open through the holiday shopping season. KusLer will be attempting to liquidate the entire inventory with sales and specials.
Kusler and her partner Mary Pat Connors made the difficult decision to give up Kusler’s family business so they can enjoy a more calmed-down life of near-retirement. Though between their two other Snohomish businesses, it would hardly seem anything like retirement to some people.
“I’ll be going from (working) 60 hours a week to about 40,” Kusler joked, describing what her life will be like after Nov. 1.
“I can’t go off and spend three months in Arizona, I’d go crazy,” Kusler said. “The goal is that I want to be able to have a little bit of freedom. When everything is said and done I might go to (working) three days a week.”
Kusler’s Pharmacy was originally run by her father Don Kusler and has been in operation since 1967. He closed the store in 1994, and Kusler reopened it with Connors. The two ran the shop for 14 years.
“(Passing the store on) is hard, it’s really hard,” Kusler said. “I talked to my dad right before we announced it, and he totally understood. We could’ve kept it going for another few years, but when you’re our age, you don’t know if it would have a financial value five years from now, and our entire retirement is this business. We had to look at it and say how much risk are we willing to tolerate.”
Kusler said of all the things she loved about working with the community in Snohomish, just talking to the customers will be the thing she will miss the most.
“We’ll talk politics or what’s happening in the nonprofit world,” Kusler said. “It’s kind of been my social life. I mean I have one outside of the shop, but people came to see me on a regular basis and you get to know them, about their kids’ soccer games.”
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