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home : news : news April 29, 2016

9/9/2013 1:05:00 PM
Smart Pharmacy closes doors
Smart Pharmacy's closure leaves Byron without a place to fill prescriptions.  Photo by David Richards
+ click to enlarge
Smart Pharmacy's closure leaves Byron without a place to fill prescriptions. Photo by David Richards

By David Richards

Smart Pharmacy, Byron's only location to fill prescriptions, closed its doors Friday, Sept. 6. It was located inside the Market Place grocery store.

The business is owned by Astrup Drug of Austin, and officials for the company cited a lack of sales.

"We do appreciate our customers in Byron," said Sam Ewing, vice president of operations for Astrup Drug. "We had good, loyal customers, but to make money you have to fill more prescriptions than we were able to."

Astrup Drug also owns a Smart Pharmacy in Osage, Iowa, a town of roughly 3,600 compared with Byron's population of roughly 5,000.

Ewing said his company does five times more business in Osage than it did in Byron and felt that Byron's close proximity to Rochester was one of the reasons.

Osage's closest town of 25,000 or more is Mason City, which has roughly 28,000 people and is located 29 miles away.

Rochester, five to 10 miles from Byron depending on where you start from, boasts a population of more than 106,000.

"There was a pharmacy in (Byron) before and they left." Ewing said.

"It's just proven to be a tough market to do business in."

In addition to the two Smart Pharmacy stores, Astrup Drug also owns 20 Sterling Drug locations mostly in southern Minnesota, with two in Iowa.

Mayor Ann Diercks called Smart Pharmacy's closing in Byron "unfortunate," and agreed that Byron is in a unique location.

"I understand a company needs to make numbers to carry on," she said. "If the people are there to use it so that the business gets the numbers, that's great. But if not, then the business is going to fail."

Market Place is in its eighth year in Byron and has had a pharmacy pretty much for its entirety.

Weber and Judd Pharmacy, which has a location in the subway level of Mayo Clinic and in Kasson, was there at the beginning. Smart Pharmacy moved in during the spring of 2010, shortly after Weber and Judd left.

Randy Fogelson, who owns Market Place, said his first priority is to fill the space with another pharmacy because the community needs one.

"I've made several contacts with other pharmacies, and I'm still working on them, " he said. "We need it. We have guys driving up on scooters who pick up their prescriptions every day."

Fogelson said that if he's unable to find a pharmacy to fill the space, he'll try to lease it to another type of business that might be a good fit or expand Market Place as a whole.

His focus, he said, is on finding a pharmacy.

"It's not about the store; it's about the community," Fogelson said.

When asked about Byron's proximity to Rochester as a contributing factor for Smart Pharmacy closing, Fogelson acknowledged it.

"I'm sure that's part of it, but if you want services in the community, you have to support them," he said.



"It's just proven to be a tough market to do business in."

In addition to the two Smart Pharmacy stores, Astrup Drug also owns 20 Sterling Drug locations mostly in southern Minnesota, with two in Iowa.

Mayor Ann Diercks called Smart Pharmacy's closing in Byron "unfortunate," and agreed that Byron is in a unique location.

"I understand a company needs to make numbers to carry on," she said. "If the people are there to use it so that the business gets the numbers, that's great. But if not, then the business is going to fail."

Market Place is in its eighth year in Byron and has had a pharmacy pretty much for its entirety.

Weber and Judd Pharmacy, which has a location in the subway level of Mayo Clinic and in Kasson, was there at the beginning. Smart Pharmacy moved in during the spring of 2010, shortly after Weber and Judd left.

Randy Fogelson, who owns Market Place, said his first priority is to fill the space with another pharmacy because the community needs one.

"I've made several contacts with other pharmacies, and I'm still working on them, " he said. "We need it. We have guys driving up on scooters who pick up their prescriptions every day."

Fogelson said that if he's unable to find a pharmacy to fill the space, he'll try to lease it to another type of business that might be a good fit or expand Market Place as a whole.

His focus, he said, is on finding a pharmacy.

"It's not about the store; it's about the community," Fogelson said.

When asked about Byron's proximity to Rochester as a contributing factor for Smart Pharmacy closing, Fogelson acknowledged it.

"I'm sure that's part of it, but if you want services in the community, you have to support them," he said.




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