Bien Pharmacy was closed today, but will re-open tomorrow morning, Friday, December 16, at its regular time – 9 a.m. But not in its regular place! Bien Pharmacy is moving to the new healthcare campus on Flynn Drive. While you are dozing the drugstore will be deep in boxes.
Moving a pharmacy is similar to any move with two key differences. “We packed the medications and pharmacy items in totes and zip tied them shut for the move. They were locked up safely wherever they were – in either location or in the moving trailer.” owner and pharmacist Lance Bien explained. “Next week the Board of Pharmacy will perform a new pharmacy inspection to ensure everything is up to code.”
The gift items, at-the-counter products, and candy will be displayed in the next few days and the new store will be fully functional next week. According to Bien, “Its been a hectic few days, but we are looking forward to the move.”
The new pharmacy will be smaller than its location on Main Street, but Bien explained most customers won’t notice a big difference. The pharmacy will continue to carry the same over the counter items. “Things will be set up differently according to the space, but we will still have all the healthcare items we always have.”
The biggest difference will be in the greeting cards and gift items. “We will still stock about a 165 greeting cards and our most popular gifts and we will now include gifts for hospital patients. Popular candies such as Jelly Bellys and Abdallah chocolates will continue to be included. “It will be a work in progress,” Bien said. ” We will see which gift items people find most interesting and fill the shelves with those.”
Although the square footage at Bien Pharmacy is decreasing, the staff will remain the same. “We have a smaller space, Bien said, “But we also need to staff our new drive-up window.” Bien employees about 10 part-time workers. The pharmacy hours will also remain the same – 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays.
Bien began working at Dan’s Pharmacy on Main Street in Milbank right after he graduated from pharmacy school in 1994. He became partners with Dan Hilgenburg in 1998. When Dan retired in 2007, Bien bought out Hilgenburg’s interest.
With the new hospital, the plan included integrating a pharmacy into the new building. Two pharmacies, Bien Pharmacy and Lewis Family Drug, were approached and asked to submit a business plan. The Northeast South Dakota Healthcare Foundation made the decision. “We are grateful for this opportunity,” Bien said. “We are happy to add more convenience for the customers and strive for better customer service.”
Bien’s former location on Main Street has been a pharmacy since 1882, the oldest retail business in the area. Bien owns the building, which he purchased when he became sole owner of the business. “The building has been up for sale for about a year now,” he said. “We had a few people look into it, but I would also entertain the idea of leasing the space.”
Pictured: Sheila and Lance Bien, Rachel Hendricks, Gail Whiting and Jackie Prasnicki