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Middletown pharmacy celebrates 30 years of business

Pharmacist Kevin Berry and his wife Karen, director of pharmacy operations, are celebrating their 30th anniversary of serving the community in their Medicine Shoppe pharmacy on Central Avenue in Middletown and Middletown City Council plans to make a presentation to the business at council's Jan. 5 meeting. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Pharmacist Kevin Berry and his wife Karen, director of pharmacy operations, are celebrating their 30th anniversary of serving the community in their Medicine Shoppe pharmacy on Central Avenue in Middletown and Middletown City Council plans to make a presentation to the business at council's Jan. 5 meeting. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Part of what has made The Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy last for 30 years is its commitment to serving customers quickly, according to its owners.

“You don’t have to park a mile away, walk through the lot, walk to the back of (a store), buy $100 worth of stuff you didn’t need on the way back there,” said pharmacist Kevin Berry.

Customers also have commented on not having to wait for 30 or 45 minutes at a grocery store pharmacy just to pick up a prescription, said co-owner Karen Berry, Kevin’s wife and the director of pharmacy operations.

“You come in here, you don’t feel good … we will get you in and get you out to take care of you because nobody wants to be sitting in pharmacy for an hour,” she said. “They want to go home, get in their jammies, relax, be sick at home.”

The Medicine Shoppe, 1971 Central Ave., was recognized by Middletown City Council on Tuesday on the occasion of reaching its 30th anniversary.

“We feel very blessed and fortunate to have done that and hopefully we can continue to do that,” Kevin Berry said.

Berry, who earned a bachelor of science degree in pharmacy from the University of Cincinnati in 1983, worked for a retail pharmacy for three years before following in his father’s footsteps and starting his own pharmacy on Jan. 6, 1986.

“It was a chance to care for people,” he said. “I just enjoy it.”

The couple said their shop has been able to compete with the drug store chains for several reasons, including offering shorter wait times, attentive staff and various personalized services, instead of trying to be a jack of all trades and master of none.

“We don’t have the greeting cards and automobile oil and all that stuff, we’re a true health care pharmacy,” Karen Berry said.

Being part of The Medicine Shoppe franchise has been beneficial.

“We have over 1,000 Medicine Shoppes in the United States, so we can buy better, be more competitive,” Kevin Berry said. “It gave us a brand, an image and the tools to be successful.”

The business, which was the first in Middletown to offer a cholesterol screening and immunization services, has grown over the years, moving in 2002 from a 1,200 square-foot the southeast corner of Central and Sutphin to the current 3,000-square-foot location on the northwest corner.

The expansion allowed for the addition of home medical equipment and home oxygen services and supplies.

“It’s important to have niches, things that you do that others can’t,” Kevin Berry said. “No matter where you go, you’re going to pay the same co-pay, so we need to be more appealing in terms of offering you better service, quicker turnaround times on your prescription, delivery.

The Medicine Shoppe also is a specialized care center for diabetes, offering diabetes education, diabetic shoes and all the products and services someone needs to care for themselves or a loved one with diabetes.

In addition, the business offers compounding, where it can custom-make someone’s medicine, altering it for special dosage or adjustment to take into account certain allergies or other factors. Compounding for pet medications also is available and may be used to help a dog or cat swallow a medication by creating it in chew treat form or a dosage that can be rubbed into their ear.