New downtown pharmacy could change course of Jefferson Street
A proposed new pharmacy could change the street patterns of downtown Berne. At Monday’s Berne City Council meeting, council voted to consider a proposal presented by Jill Andrews, representing the Kaup Pharmacy chain.
The business is planning on leasing room from Family LifeCare, which recently took over the building occupied by First Bank of Berne. The bank moved to a new banking center on the north side of town, leaving the building vacated until it was picked up by Family LifeCare.
SueAnn Reynolds, executive director of Family LifeCare, told Berne City Council that her agency would occupy the back part of the building and the pharmacy would occupy the front part. Family LifeCare and Kaup Pharmacy would work together in unity to promote more holistic health care.
In addition, Reynolds said that a nurse practitioner would come in early in the morning and be available on site late into the evening to provide clinical health services to the community.
Kaup Pharmacy has headquarters in Fort Recovery, Ohio, with current pharmacies operating in Union City, Ind., Fort Recovery, Versailles and Arcanum in Ohio. The Berne store would be the agency’s second store in Indiana.
Andrews said that Kaup Pharmacy is a family business that has decided to expand into the Berne community.
“We’ve felt large support from the people that we’ve talked to so far,” said Andrews. “We’d like to have a drive-through window. That is why we are proposing a one way street. The window would be on the east side of the building.
“It has been our experience that 30 to 40 percent of the prescriptions go out through the window,” continued Andrews. “It’s one way we would like to compete and serve the people of this community.”
Councilman Ron Dull said he likes the idea of having such a pharmacy downtown because he believes it would help draw customers to other surrounding businesses.
Changing the course of Jefferson Street would turn south Jefferson into a one-way street going north to Main Street, to accommodate the traffic flow of the drive-through. Reynolds said that she had talked to the Muselman family (with their business interests in the area) and they showed strong support for the project.
“I wanted to make sure that they didn’t have any issues with the street,” commented Reynolds. “They said that the entire project has their full support. We feel the pharmacy will have strong support because there are no pharmacies in the small Ohio communities bordering Indiana.”
City attorney Dave Baumgartner said that he felt that council could pass legislation to show support for the project, but he felt there should be a study and agreement with Kaup officials before final city approval is given to the street portion of the project.
“You don’t want to make the safety issue worse,” said Baumgartner. “What can we do to make the safety issue better? We need to have some kind of easement agreement that restricts public space.”
Berne police chief Tim Taylor, present at the meeting, said that the biggest impact in the area would be pedestrian traffic, especially when the sidewalk is removed to make room for the drive-up window.
“We could possibly take a couple of parking spots to make it safer,” said Taylor. “I wouldn’t mind seeing a couple of parking spots taken on the north side of Main Street, too.”
Berne Mayor Bill McKean asked Andrews when they would like a response from the city.
She replied, “the sooner the better. We’re looking to having our doors open Nov. 1 of this year. The drive-through wouldn’t necessarily have to be open then.”
McKean said that the city is behind the business. He noted that remodeling is scheduled to begin next week.
Council voted to give its approval to the project, pending agreement with Kaup Pharmacy on safety matters.
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