Ye ol’ apothecary

. January 2, 2015.

by Chris Watson

The Pharmacy Counter on South Byrne Road sits within a two-mile radius of four national chain pharmacies.  Anson’s Pharmacy is nestled in a small business area in the shadow of Levis Commons.  Monroe Pharmacy is almost directly across the street from a new CVS store on Douglas Road.  These and other dedicated pharmacies are not only in operation, but are flourishing in the shadow of corporate giants.

With almost every large discount department store, grocery market, and buyers’ club warehouse providing prescription coverage, small independent pharmacies have great competition.  However, there are several reasons why they succeed. 

Go team  

Although physicians initiate care, it’s the pharmacist who helps patients execute their health care plan.  “It’s not just about getting a drug and putting it in your hand,”  said Bryan Coehrs, director of  Pharmacy Operations at The Pharmacy Counter.  “We help our customers manage long-term and chronic care with tools like specialized packaging and medical calendars. We also seek ways to combine medications and decrease the dosage frequency without losing effectiveness,” he explained.  These customized services assist in making sure patients are adhering to a medication routine, and can also help ease the impact of medication side effects and care plans on daily life.  Factors such as eating, exercise, rest cycles, and dual health conditions all play a role in taking medication.  Local, dedicated pharmacies have the time and training to help you with these variables.  It is much more than just prescription processing.

As we age, our health care needs evolve.  This process of evolution includes differing medications, dietary needs, medical aids and in some cases, monitoring devices.  All of these changes require a pharmacist to educate, train, resupply pipelines, and above all, have patience with the customer. “Our patients are friends and family,”  said Lap (Stanley) Chu, owner and Pharmacist-in-Charge of Anson Pharmacy.  “We take time to know both our customer’s care plan, and to know them personally.”  As care plans are modified by their doctor, the impact is often felt in other areas of the patients’ life. “A customer doesn’t have to repeat their story every time they visit us. We remember them,” Chu claimed. That capacity simply doesn’t exist at the CVS drive-through window. 

Sharp patient focus

Local pharmacies focus on one thing: health care.  To be competitive, they must stay laser-sharp on their core competency. “There is a misconception that smaller means more expensive, but because of insurance and Medicare, prices are relatively stable no matter where you go,” Coehrs said. Since the sole aim is to serve the pharmaceutical and health aid needs of their customers, these local pharmacies feel like a health care destination. Their services are never subordinated by corporate concerns.  “Even our cash prices are often better than big chains . . . we don’t have the overhead,” Chu explained. 

Accessibility has become one of the primary reasons seniors are using dedicated pharmacies.  It is true that most local pharmacies don’t have extended hours.  But, they also aren’t located in a store built like a labyrinth.  Parking is an advantage to these pharmacies as well; parking lots are smaller and less crowded, and wait time is reduced. It’s a win-win.

Above all, these local, dedicated pharmacies are just that: dedicated.  They are concerned with the pharmaceutical and medical supply needs of their patients.  It is a purposeful and effective distinction.  “Our customers,”  Chu said proudly, “are never prescription numbers.”

Local dedicated pharmacies in our region: 

Anson’s Pharmacy

25884 Dixie Hwy., 



7375 Secor Rd., Lambertville, MI


James Pharmacy

623 LaGrange St.


The Pharmacy 


2655 W. Central Ave.


27 Navarre Ave # 1, Oregon

2150 Central Ave.


1515 Byrne Rd.


Monroe Pharmacy

4122 Monroe St.


Toledo Family Pharmacy

1601 W. Sylvania Ave.


Ryan Pharmacy & Orthopedic Supply

3340 Dorr Street


Westgate Family 

Pharmacy 3147 W. Central Ave. 419.531.0000,

The Medicine Shoppe

7473 Secor Rd., 

Lambertville, MI 734.856.9123,

Aring’s Compound Corner

6725 W. Central Ave. 



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