BUCKHANNON – A new, locally-owned pharmacy has opened in Buckhannon to serve former Miller’s Pharmacy customers and anyone else looking for the attentive, personal care an independent drugstore can offer.
Fast and Friendly Pharmacy opened a location at 57 North Locust Street, near the Donut Shop, soon after Miller’s Pharmacy closed. Owner and pharmacist John Metheny said it is important to maintain an independent pharmacy in Upshur County.
“Mr. Miller retired and we were able to purchase his files — he was the last independent pharmacy in the county — so we wanted to continue providing that quality service for the community,” Metheny told My Buckhannon. “We relocated so patients could have a drive-thru; that was the only reason we relocated from the [Main Street] location they’d been in for 70 years.”
Metheny started Fast and Friendly Pharmacy in Elkins in 2011, and they have been in Weston since 2015. The pharmacy was founded after a heartbreaking event showed Metheny he could do more good for the local community as a small, independent business than working for a chain.
“Long story short, back in the day, I worked for a chain and a patient didn’t have $5 for an antibiotic for his teeth,” Metheny recalled. “There was no way for us to help him in a chain situation — you would get fired for giving away products. He was not able to get that medication, and two days later, he died from a systemic infection. That’s when I decided to open up a store and help people.”
He said a smaller, independent pharmacy can develop closer relationships with their patients, which makes it easier to talk about medications and health.
“We’re still small enough to be able to talk to people about their medication, and that’s the biggest thing,” Metheny said. “It’s hard to get access to health care, doctors or nurses, and we have a small store. We’re not hard to talk to, that’s for sure.”
Patients with multiple medications and questions benefit from being able to talk to their pharmacist on a regular basis.
“If people take more than two or three medications, they really need to be talking on a regular basis to the pharmacist,” Metheny said. “Things happen — nothing against the big chain the pharmacists, but they’re there to make money. They minimize their help, and you’ve seen that in the last year or so. The staff has been asked to do more with less — with the same or less amount of people. It’s hard on big chains, and we’re just glad to be able to help folks and take the time to listen, to provide insight and expertise regarding their medications and overall health.”
Metheny said the only insurance they do not have a contract with at this time is Tricare, because it requires patients to use mail orders.
“Accessibility is a big thing,” Metheny said. “We’re right there, we answer our phones, we don’t have a machine that answers because we need to talk to people, we need to talk to our patients. We’re local, we live local, we hire local and we’ve tried to keep it local, because if we ever make any money it will be spent in Lewis or Upshur County, that’s for sure. It won’t go to Alabama.”
Currently, their hours in Buckhannon are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, but they plan to expand to include Saturday once they have the needed staffing.
“We’re available to talk, and it’s an easy transfer,” Metheny said. “We’ll help you with your medicine whether you’re one of our patients or not, if you have questions about your medications.”
The Buckhannon Fast and Friendly Pharmacy is located next to the Donut Shop and can be reached by calling 304-460-2150.