FISHER — The Fisher Telepharmacy, 102 E. Front St., will host a grand-opening celebration on Saturday Oct. 14.
Owner Adonis Ducre said he is grateful to be joining the community of Fisher. He said the staff looks forward to servicing the community and residents for many years to come.
The grand opening will run from 11 a.m. -2 p.m. There will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony at noon, and refreshments will be served. Also included — a special customer giveaway (while supplies last) and a grand prize drawing to win a Kindle Fire or Echo Dot.
The business is a full-service pharmacy open five days a week featuring convenience and personal service for residents. Services include veterinary prescriptions, video chats with pharmacists, prescriptions filled by text and delivery in some areas.
Lorrie Cwiklowski is the store manager. She is a certified pharmacy technician with five years experience working in a hospital pharmacy. Regular store hours are 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday. Cwiklowski said as business picks up, those hours will be adjusted. She is the only employee on site and has been working for the business since July.
Any new customer must meet in a teleconference with the off-site pharmacist, no matter how long they’ve been taking a medication, she said.
The store features a private area with a door that closes —a Superman booth, she calls it. The customer views the pharmacist on a large screen monitor and uses a phone to speak.
Cwiklowski said the store has tried to stock some basic medications and consulted with the Fisher Family Practice Center for recommendations. But sometimes there is a one- or two-day wait for the medications to be delivered, and Cwiklowski said they’ve lost a couple of customers because of that.
"We can’t keep scads of inventory right now," she said.
The store has been open since Sept. 18. "We didn’t want to blow our trumpet till we got the bugs worked out," Cwiklowski said.
It was more than two years ago that representatives of TelePharm told the Fisher Village Board about a novel way to bring a pharmacy to the small village. The company started in Iowa in 2012. Its stores feature a pharmacy technician on site in the store but a registered pharmacist shares time among several locations and dispenses medication through teleconferencing.
TelePharm invested substantially to open the store. The business paid rent for six-eight months while it waited for state officials to do the inspection required for it to open and the proper licenses were secured. But before the company would commit to Fisher, it needed to secure $50,000 in investments from the community. Those investors were guaranteed 25 percent of whatever profits are generated.
Fisher National Bank President Mike Estes is a member of the Fisher Area Business Association, the group that he said was the springboard to securing local investment to bring the pharmacy to town.
Estes said he’s "thrilled with the opening of a new small business" in town even though it took longer than he expected.
"I hope and pray people will use it," Estes said. "I know it will take time."
Residents for years have been able to access medical services in town. Gibson Area Hospital operates the medical clinic in Fisher.