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Sunday, May 1, 2016

'Main Street Pharmacy' to open in April

Monday, March 30, 2009

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The new Main Street Pharmacy will be located at 406 West Main Street, just west of The Book Vine in downtown Cherokee. Photo by Dan Whitney
Tony Puffett has been working as a pharmacist for Hy-Vee for close to 20 years now. He first came to Cherokee in 1991 and worked at what was then called Drugtown until 1998, when he transferred to Carroll.

Tony and his wife Noelle returned to Cherokee in 2003 and he resumed working at Hy-Vee Drug Store in Cherokee until August 2008, when he transferred to the Estherville Hy -Vee Drug Store.

Although at one time, the Puffetts were considering moving to the Lakes area, they talked it over and decided that they really like the city of Cherokee and their home here, have established friendships through the years, and also enjoyed their work with the Cherokee Community Theater, so for four months Tony commuted back and forth between Estherville and Cherokee.

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Mary Letsche
In the meantime, about a year ago, Tony happened to be talking to fellow pharmacist - and Cherokee resident - Mary Letsche, and from this talk an idea began to grow. The two pharmacists, both of whom received their Pharmacy degrees from the University of Iowa in 1988, had worked together over the years when Mary worked in the pharmacy at Sioux Valley Hospital. A few years ago, Mary purchased Stander Pharmacy in Holstein, and has operated that business, under the name of Main Street Pharmacy, ever since. When they spoke last year, she and Tony discovered that they had both been approached by Cherokee citizens who were concerned about the lack of pharmceutical options in Cherokee. More discussion ensued, and Tony and Mary eventually decided to pursue establishing a partnership and open another Main Street Pharmacy, in Cherokee.

The partners were very fortunate to find a magnificent building on Main Street in Cherokee, as well as landlords who were looking for a tenant for that building. The building is on West Main Street which was purchased by Jay and Mollie Loughlin a couple of years ago. Mollie, of course, opened her business, "The Book Vine," in the east side of the building, and is doing well there.

The Loughlins' plan all along, though, was to find a business to go into the west side of the building. After Valley Glass put in new windows, Louie Hausmann made a new door, allowing front door access to both sides of the building, and the Loughlins re-did the ceilings, the time had come for the other half of the facility to be rented out. And, as fate would have it, Tony Puffett also felt the time had come for him to "become his own boss." He and Letsche established their pasrtnership, became the renters of 406 West Main Street in Cherokee, and made plans to open their new business.

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Tony Puffet
Tony quit his job in January of this year, and since that time he has been working pretty much full time to get Main Street Pharmacy up and running - not only with all the necessary paperwork, but also establishing contracts with insurance carriers, and doing more physical-type work, such as putting in fixtures and cleaning up.

Noelle Puffett, by the way, works part-time at the Book Vine, right next door. She and Tony's daughter, Suzy, 23, is employed at Regis Salon in the Southern Hills Mall in Sioux City, and their son James, 20, is a student at the Carroll campus of Des Moines Area Community College.

The initial plan for Cherokee's Main Street Pharmacy is for Tony to serve as the chief pharmacist, with the assistance of a Pharmacy technician. Mary Letsche, who will still own and operate the Holstein pharmacy, will also be at the Cherokee location from time to time, serving as a relief pharmacist every other weekend. Eventually, Mary hopes to hire another pharmacist in Holstein and work strictly here in her hometown of Cherokee, where she still resides and her two children attend Washington High School.

Main Street Pharmacy will, according to both owners, be "keying on the pharmaceutical and health care needs" of their customers, providing not only prescription medicines, but also over-the-counter medications and medical supplies. It will be a "full service pharmacy," but Puffett notes that they will not have a true drive-up service, mainly because the alley behind the store runs in the wrong direction.

He does say, though, that if someone is at the back door and wants to pick up a prescription, he will gladly come to the back door to help them. Main Street Pharmacy will offer free delivery, as well as free mail-out prescriptions, and will not charge an additional fee if a customer's tablets need to be split. Main Street Pharmacy has a contract with the Access Health Group, and Puffett feels most - if not all - of their customers' insurance plans should cover their services.

The store will be open from 9 a.m. - 6 p.m., Monday-Friday, and 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. on Saturdays. The store will be closed on Sundays, but Puffett said there will be pharmaceutical services available after hours for emergencies.

When it opens its doors, Main Street Pharmacy will be the only independent pharmacy in Cherokee County. A definite date has not yet been set for the opening of the new business, but both Puffett and Letsche say it will be sometime in April.



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