By Katy Savage
As the 167-year-old Woodstock Pharmacy filled its final prescription on Saturday, Oct. 3. Plans to bring a new pharmacy to town are underway.
High Mountain Corporation, which owns Rutland Pharmacy, Ludlow Pharmacy, River Street Pharmacy in Springfield and Springfield Pharmacy, is coming to the Ottauquechee Health Center on Pleasant Street in late 2020 or early 2021.
Jeff Hochberg, vice president of High Mountain, said renovations will begin as soon as permits are attained.
“We’ve always been keen on the area,” he said. “There’s a lot of potential there. There’s a lot of need there. Now more than ever, it’s the time.”
The Woodstock Pharmacy had been in owner Gary Smith’s family for 61 years. It was a well-loved piece of town and a heavily relied on service. Smith said he filled about 40,000 prescriptions a year. Smith sold patient records to CVS Pharmacy in West Lebanon before closing.
“We’re sad to see another independent fail,” said Hochberg, who is president of the Vermont Retail Drug Association. “It’s a difficult environment.”
Hochberg said he considered buying the Woodstock Pharmacy from Smith, but was attracted to integrating services with clinicians at the Ottauquechee Health Center.
“The clinical integrated piece was more near and clear,” Hochberg said. “It’s very much forward thinking. It’s a whole new idea that has a lot of potential for growth. Gary’s closure really helped open the door for that.”
The Ottauquechee Health Center is part of Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center in Windsor. The building on Pleasant Street is owned by DEW Construction.
DEW Vice President Matthew Wheaton said opening a new pharmacy made sense for the area.
“Maintaining local access to high quality pharmacy services is something that would benefit our entire region,” said Wheaton in a press release.
Opening a pharmacy fit the goals of Mt. Ascutney Hospital.
“We’re proud to participate in helping the community solve its need for local pharmacy services,” stated Mt. Ascutney COO Paul Calandrella.
The new pharmacy will be located in an existing space inside the OHC. The pharmacy will focus on filling prescriptions instead of offering full retail options, but Hochberg said a retail component could come later.
Similar to Hochberg’s other locations, prescription delivery, curbside pick up and mailings will be available to customers.
“It’s close to our geography, it’s close to our service areas already,” Hochberg said. “We’re pretty consistent with how we do stuff.”