By Marisa Patwa
The Warrick County Standard
After serving Chandler for over 42 years, Guthrie's Pharmacy officially had its last open day on Monday, April 22.
Owners John and Pam Guthrie sold their pharmacy to three farmers from Eastern Kentucky working for Value RX Bluegrass LLC 13 months ago with the hopes of the new ownership relieving some financial burdens, though they were recently surprised when the farmers told them Guthrie's Pharmacy would be sold to the Boonville CVS. The farmers working for Value RX Bluegrass LLC told the couple that all files are transferring to the CVS and current employees also have the option to work there, but the Guthries have chosen to take an early retirement.
"We sold it to them with the intention of it remaining an independent pharmacy," Pam Guthrie said of their deal with Value RX Bluegrass LLC. "And John stayed on as manager and almost all of the employees stayed and really, nothing changed, but we didn't have to worry about paying bills and
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then surprisingly, after 13 months, they decided to sell to CVS."
John Guthrie ran Guthrie's Pharmacy with help from his wife Pam and their dedicated employees since 1978 when they bought it from Bob Bloss.
"But there has been a local pharmacy serving Chandler since 1955," Pam Guthrie said. "[The pharmacy] was started by Vic Scales from Boonville."
John Guthrie said he began his pharmacy career at Don Lutz's pharmacy in Evansville.
"And I fell in love with independent pharmacies," he said.
Though he has also dabbled in working at a chain pharmacy with Osco-Drug in downtown Evansville.
"Which was the worst 13 months of my life," he said. "All they worried about was someone being in the cage. That's what they called the pharmacy department back then -- a cage."
Pam Guthrie said her husband's dedication to their independent pharmacy is what made them stand out.
"John is the type of pharmacist where if somebody needed medicine at an off time where we weren't even there, he would come up and fill their prescriptions," she said. "Chains don't do that."
She said her husband truly is a one-of-a-kind pharmacist.
"He would catch things even doctors wouldn't," Pam Guthrie said. "Like if their medications were acting inappropriately, he would catch that and they would obviously change medications. Doctors are wonderful people, but they don't always know what everyone is on, but a pharmacist does."
The Guthries have also always prided themselves on offering free delivery.
"Some of our delivery guys have found people on the floor and called an ambulance," Pam Guthrie said. "And sometimes, the delivery guy is the only person they see all day."
The Guthries said they think socialized medicine has a big part to play in why Value RX Bluegrass LLC, who also owns several other independently-owned pharmacies, sold their pharmacy to the Boonville CVS.
"[Medicinal companies] didn't pay fair prices to independents because the chain stores buy in greater quantity," Pam Guthrie said. "It's becoming socialized medicine."
Both John and Pam Guthrie said they were initially shocked when they discovered their beloved business had been sold without their knowing.
"We kind of understood why they wanted to sell to CVS -- because they were having the same issues we had had," Pam Guthrie said. "[The situation] had not improved."
John Guthrie, who is 69, and had plans to retire within the next few years, said he is not mad, as much as he is disappointed.
"This is not the way we wanted to go out," he said.
Pam Guthrie said they will miss all of the employees who worked at Guthrie's Pharmacy for so many years.
"They have been loyal and steadfast," she said. "And we couldn't have done it without them."