Sheri Hammer is the new District I Manager for Lewis Drug. The position oversees 11 stores in northern South Dakota and western Minnesota. Sheri’s... Sheri Hammer Appointed to District I Manager for Lewis Drug

Sheri Hammer is the new District I Manager for Lewis Drug. The position oversees 11 stores in northern South Dakota and western Minnesota.

Sheri’s partnership with Lewis Drug dates back to 1976, when she attended Wilmot High School and worked for Liebe Drug. She then attended Northern State University and returned to Milbank and to Liebe Drug in 1983. She laughed and said, “When I started, they were just installing their first computer in the pharmacy.”

She cited the more recent addition of the drive-thru pharmacy as another major advancement. “It’s such a convenience for our customers. For instance, if you are driving your sick child home from the clinic, you don’t have to take them out of the car. Drive-thru service is such a time saver, too.”

Sheri said she has done almost every job at the store — from unloading semis with new merchandise, going to market and loading up the u-hauls and driving them back to Milbank, to being the manager of the Ben Franklin store that at one time was in the Milbank Mall.

“I really love what I am doing.” she said. “I like going to work every day. I especially like making the front area look good. I always try to keep the displays fresh and showcase our new products.”

Her home base is the Milbank store, but her duties include monthly visits to each of the 12 stores in the district, if possible. She said, “The plan is to provide more contact with the stores, to answer questions, and get information out to them faster. Before Sheri’s promotion, Lewis Drug had one manager based in Sioux Falls. The company, also based in Sioux Falls, decided to divide the territory into three districts. Sheri’s district includes the stores in: Milbank, Ortonville, Aberdeen, Benson, Clear Lake, Clark, Sisseton, Appleton, Wilmot, Graceville, Browns Valley. She said, It’s really exciting. “Plus, the Aberdeen, Clear Lake, and Sisseton stores all have new buildings.”

Many people fight change, but Sheri seems to take it in stride. She said, “When Lewis purchased Liebe Drug in July of 2015, I was a little nervous. Anytime ownership changes people worry. Who will they cut? Who will they keep? But, everyone was carried over.” She said the company treats their employees well and offers some great benefits, too

“Longevity,” she said in the Milbank store was really an important factor in the transition and continues to matter. Things usually go smoothly. “All the ladies here are committed to the success of the business. I do the scheduling, but we really work as a team. They make my life easy.” She also said, “I have made many friendships and bonds over the years — with co-workers and customers. I have seen kids grow up and grandkids come along.”

Lewis Drug prides itself on family, too. It remains a family-run business, after 76 years. It was South Dakota’s first self-service drugstore when it opened at 309 S. Phillips Avenue in Sioux Falls on February 10, 1942. Second-generation and third-generation family members still form part of its leadership. In 1942, it was one little store called Lewis, and it occupied the space which now houses CH Patisserie just south of Minerva’s. Today, the company owns 57 stores

Staff Writer

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