Tyler Myers, president of the Myers Group and owner of IGA Foodland, left, greets Scott Watts, owner of Ron's Apothecary Shoppe, at IGA Foodland on Wednesday. The new pharmacy will open later this month.

Tyler Myers, president of the Myers Group and owner of IGA Foodland, left, greets Scott Watts, owner of Ron's Apothecary Shoppe, at IGA Foodland on Wednesday. The new pharmacy will open later this month.

New downtown pharmacy opening March 21 in Foodland IGA

Ron’s Apothecary Shoppe is opening a second location inside Foodland IGA in the downtown Willoughby District.

Standing in front of empty shelves behind the pharmacy counter, Scott Watts said he’s feeling a “little overwhelmed.” But he’s positive everything will go smoothly once the new pharmacy opens in less than two weeks.

Watts bought the nearly 40-year-old Ron’s Apothecary Shoppe, located at the Mendenhall Mall, from Ron Sedgwick in 2001. He runs it with his wife, Gretchen Watts.

“We enjoy what’s going on in the downtown center here, and we wanted to be a part of it,” Watts said.

He hopes Foodland Pharmacy, to be located in the back of the store’s ACE Hardware department, will be a convenient option for people in the downtown and Douglas areas.

“Initially there was a pharmacy here four years ago, so we’re stepping in to provide that service again,” Watts said.

The pharmacist will be Will Whitehead, who was the pharmacist at the recently-closed Walmart. Prior to that, Whitehead worked at Foodland’s former pharmacy, Foodland Superdrug.

Watts said an additional two to three employees will round out the staff.

Prices at Foodland Pharmacy will be in line with Ron’s Apothecary Shoppe and competitive with other pharmacies around town, Watts said. Service is just as important, he added.

“We’ll be able to provide custom compounded medications that will be made at Ron’s Apothecary and delivered here. We’ll provide access to prescriptions here six days a week. We provide a synchronized fill program so that a person can fill all their medications one day of the month rather than coming in throughout the month. We’ll be providing delivery to the airport and post office daily,” Watts said.

Watts said he’ll start to fill the pharmacy shelves next week. Foodland Pharmacy will be open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Besides prescription medications, the pharmacy will offer specialty, non-prescription items that are made at Ron’s Apothecary Shoppe, like diaper rash, bug bite gels, pain-free capsules and dry skin formulas.

The pharmacy is just another component of the Foodland IGA remodel that’s been ongoing since Seattle-based Myers Group purchased the store in 2012.

Myers Group President Tyler Myers said he has put $3.5 million into the store, which included an expansion to add the ACE Hardware department.

Myers hopes the newest subtenant will make Foodland as desirable to shop at as Fred Meyer and Safeway. The other subtenants are True North Federal Credit Union and Heritage Coffee Roasting Company.

“To be competitive I thought I need a financial institution, I need a coffee shop, I need a pharmacy, and we’ll continue to add as we can,” said Myers, who was visiting the store on Wednesday.

Myers wants to also add an in-store liquor shop. He’s been actively pursuing a liquor license for a couple years. If he doesn’t eventually get one, he’ll move in another subtenant.

“Anything that we think the customers in this part of town are looking for, that’s what we’re trying to fill the space with,” Myers said.

Myers is also busy coming up with a remodel plan for Super Bear IGA in the Mendenhall Valley, which Myers Group purchased at the end of last summer. Work will start within the next two or three months.

“That store will get a full makeover just like this store is,” Myers said. “We most likely will not be expanding the footprint, but we’ll be touching every inch of the store.”

IGA, the Independent Grocers Alliance, honored Myers earlier this month as one of four IGA International Retailers of the Year for Foodland IGA. The award of excellence is given to IGA’s best stores and retailers, according to its website.

Myers said Foodland’s 120 employees deserve the credit for the award.

“I guess my name is on their paychecks, but it’s the people in the store that made that happen,” he said.

• Contact reporter Lisa Phu at 523-2246 or lisa.phu@juneauempire.com.

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