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Estherville Pharmacy celebrates first year

By David Swartz - Managing Editor | Jun 10, 2021

Starting a business any time is never easy. Starting a business during a pandemic provides even more challenges.

This week, the community owned and operated Estherville Pharmacy celebrates their one-year anniversary.

“I just want to give a huge thank you to the community,” said head pharmacist Andy Spurgin. “It’s been a humbling experience receiving so much support from the community that helped shape me as I grew up.”

A 2004 graduate of Estherville Lincoln Central, Spurgin first returned to town in 2018 at Estherville Drug. When Estherville Drug closed in 2019, that left a hole in the community.

Spurgin, along with business partner Josh Borer, partnered with a group of local investors to bring a community-owned and operated pharmacy to Estherville.

Remodeling the former Godfather’s Pizza building at 1804 Central Ave, Estherville Pharmacy has been providing prescription and over the counter medications. 

“The first year has shown wonderful growth despite Covid ,” Spurgin said. “Additionally, we were chosen as a Federal Pharmacy Partner (FPP) by the FDA and CDC to provide the first wave of pharmacy administered COVID19 vaccines in early February. Furthermore, we partnered with (Emmet County) public health, Avera Holy Family Hospital, and several others in the community to provide large scale vaccination clinics.”

Spurgin said working at Estherville Pharmacy is similar in many ways to his time at Estherville Drug.

“I see a lot of the same people I’ve known my whole life,” he said. “The difference at Estherville Pharmacy is we are offering newer ways of providing enhanced pharmacy services.”

Spurgin said he and his staff work to provide value-added services such as medication synchronization, vaccinations, and preventative medicines.

As of this past Monday, former Estherville Drug pharmacist Amy Deim has joined the team at Estherville Pharmacy. Long-time Estherville Drug pharmacist Denny White also fills in on weekends at the Estherville Pharmacy.

One other holdover is Peggy Danielson, who supplies support at the front end and register of the pharmacy. Other employees are lead technician Tiffany Ukasick and new technician Shayla Fox.

“We’re also an experiential practice site for pharmacy students in their first and fourth years at South Dakota State and the University of Iowa colleges of pharmacy,” said Spurgin. “Students rotate through for several weeks at a time to gain valuable experiences on the job in a pharmacy. So if you see a new face when you visit, that may be one of our student interns.”

As for choosing the former pizza place as a home, Spurgin said there are a few who will come through the drive-through asking for their pizza.

While most of them are kidding, Spurgin said one man did come into the building and looked around and began to walk out.

“May I help you,” Spurgin asked the man.

“No pizza?” said the man.

Overall, the business has had a successful first year.

“It’s been a solid start with fantastic community support. We hope to continue working with local patients, providers, and other stakeholders to provide accessible high quality healthcare for years to come,” said Spurgin.