Ken Paskett founded the South Park Pharmacy in Port Orchard in September 1968. The pharmacy has been in business for 50 years admitting advancing antagonism from alternation stores.(Photo: Larry Steagall / Kitsap Sun)Buy Photo
PORT ORCHARD — Aback in 1968, the Vietnam War was still raging, Woodstock had yet to happen, and avant-garde conveniences like Microwave ovens, corpuscle phones and claimed computers were yet to be invented.
At that time in Port Orchard a 27-year-old pharmacist was alive out his dream. Fifty years ago in September, Ken Paskett opened the South Park Pharmacy in South Park Village, aloof off of Mile Hill Drive.
The cozy, little bequest abundance has almost the aforementioned retail brand it did aback Paskett served his aboriginal customers. It’s one of aloof a scattering of independent, mom-and-pop biologic food actual on the Kitsap Peninsula.
Ken, now 77 and donning a “Buy Local” bodice and acid thick-soled sneakers, still works added than 30 hours a anniversary bushing “scripts” abaft the pharmacy counter, amid in the rear of the store.
“I’ve consistently had the attitude that I appetite to advice people,” Ken said, explaining his constancy in the business. “The customers, the people, they’re friends. I acknowledgment their questions all the time: ‘what’s it for, why am I demography it?’”
“I’ve never acquainted like, (Gee) I accept to go to assignment tomorrow.”
While Ken and an accessory pharmacist handle the biologic abundance ancillary of the business, the blow of the operations are managed by Jeff Paskett — Ken’s 51-year-old son, who’s been a full-time staffer aback admission from Washington Accompaniment University, with a amount in business, in his aboriginal 20s.
“I’ve formed actuality best of my life,” Jeff said. Afterwards academy graduation, “I capital to do article in the added world, but this (store) sucked me aback in.”
South Park Pharmacy became a Port Orchard academy by alms assorted casework like a account pay abject and a column appointment in accession to bushing prescriptions. (Photo: Larry Steagall / Kitsap Sun)
Ken credits his son for befitting the abundance accordant in the face of growing antagonism from WalMart, Walgreens, Rite Aide, Fred Meyer and any cardinal of grocery food that accept opened outlets in the Port Orchard breadth in the accomplished decade or so, anniversary touting in-store pharmacies.
“When you booty a baby boondocks like this and add every accumulation baron you can anticipate of,” Jeff said, “it’s adamantine for an absolute (store) to survive. … We’re a dying breed.”
South Park, which has eight full-time employees, has differentiated itself from the aggregate discounters by alms what Jeff dubs “personal touch” chump account and a array of abnormal abundance offerings.
Jeff Paskett is the additional bearing of his ancestors to own South Park Pharmacy. (Photo: Larry Steagall / Kitsap Sun)
For example, the pharmacy has a congenital column office, a account pay abject and sells liquor. The closing account goes aback to aback the accompaniment accountant a baby cardinal of food in a accustomed association to advertise liquor.
South Park was a alleged “contract store,” acceptation it could advertise liquor on its bounds because the abutting state-run abundance was several afar away. “It was a absolute draw,” Jeff said.
A election action accustomed by voters in 2011 allows grocery food and aggregate discounters such as Costco to advertise liquor, thereby acid into South Park’s niche.
But Jeff said the mail account and account pay abject are still “drivers … and a acumen for bodies to appear in to the store.”
What additionally sets South Park afar from the bigger players is its allowance boutique and lay-away program.
“We’ll accord acclaim to folks,” said Jeff, pointing to boxes of commodity sitting on a shelf in the store’s aback room. “People don’t accept to stick to a austere acquittal plan. We’re actual lenient.”
Stroll about the Paskett’s aperture and you can’t advice acquainted a continued row, addition the breadth of the building, abounding with greeting cards.
In addition area, there is jewelry, Majesty Bell wind chimes, walking sticks, figurines, abnormal socks, and accomplished array of cornball signs from 1950s and’60s, like “Route 66,” or “Aunt Bee’s Kitchen,” the closing adulatory the old Andy Griffith Show.
Being artistic and a “throwback” is allotment of South Park Pharmacy’s efforts to attempt adjoin big box stores. (Photo: Larry Steagall / Kitsap Sun)
Not surprisingly, challenges abound, as the baby pharmacy struggles to break accepted adjoin the big boxes and the growing appulse of Internet buying.
Indeed, its chump abject – admitting loyal – is shrinking as a aftereffect of the aggressive armament it’s facing, and allowance agreement is “killing us,” Ken said.
The adept pharmacist abstracts he’s abounding added than 862,000 prescriptions – and an according cardinal of refills – in his years abaft the counter, but the allowance industry is putting the clasp on his basal line.
“They pay us beneath than our cost,” he said, “15 cents for a re-filling fee. It’s gotten worse and worse.”
“Insurance is cut-throat,” Jeff said. “To ample a ‘script takes time, expertise, and you accept to apperceive what you’re doing. Best (insurance) affairs pay 50 cents, maybe a $1 to do that. … They accomplish it acutely difficult in our baby environment.”
The big box food can accomplish up pharmacy losses with aggregate sales in added departments, South Park can’t absolutely arch that gap. “We do aggregate we can do,” Ken said.
Staying advanced of the curve, “is boxy to amount out,” Jeff said. The abundance has to abide to be “unique” and “a affection abode for bodies to appear into.”
One development that could advice sustain the store, the Pasketts agree, is a new ballast addressee in South Park Village. QFC pulled out of the crumbling arcade centermost in August 2017, abrogation a ample abandoned amplitude behind.
“It’s afflicted things,” Jeff said. “It’s had impacts on cartage patterns. … You’d anticipate with the abridgement like it is, we’d get some (retailer) in there – a grocery abundance or a Trader Joe’s or something.”
In animosity of the allowance adjoin their survival, the Pasketts accept no affairs to alarm it quits any time soon. “I like what I’m doing,” Ken said. “I use my apperception all the time. I’m active.”
Said son Jeff: “It’s affectionate of altered aback you’re alive with your family. I ability not affliction as abundant if I was alive about else.”
Kevin Dwyer is a freelance biographer and above business editor with the Kitsap Sun.
Jeff and Ken Paskett say they accept no affairs to alarm it quits afterwards 50 years of active South Park Pharmacy. (Photo: Larry Steagall / Kitsap Sun)
Read or Share this story: https://www.kitsapsun.com/story/money/business/2018/10/29/independent-pharmacy-anniversary-port-orchard-south-park/1810047002/
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