If you walked into the Rimbey pharmacy a hundred years ago, things would definitely be different.
“These days, with mass-manufacturing of medications we can have most prescriptions ready in ten minutes. Back then pharmacists had to mix medications themselves,” says William Poggemiller, pharmacist and current store operator at Rimbey Value Drug Mart.
Brothers Bill and Alex White opened the White Drug Store in Rimbey in 1919, and would have mixed components in the proper strength to make tinctures and elixirs you could drink, or used a mortar and pestle to grind ingredients and fill capsules or tablets. Prescription labels now are easy to print off, but a hundred years ago the White Brothers spent a lot of their day hand-writing instructions.
“Thanks to computers and a strong supply chain many of those time-intensive tasks have changed, but the core of what we do is still the same,” William says. “Our success in the past and continued success going forward depends on us taking care of our patients — providing people with necessary goods and services, medications and advice to help them meet their health goals.”
Helping the community for over 100 years
Before social medicine made doctors more accessible, many people relied on their pharmacist to diagnose and treat minor ailments, and the current team at Rimbey Value Drug Mart is pleased to provide similar services.
“Alberta pharmacists have prescribing authority again, so we’re able to help patients with a range of things like rashes, bladder infections, allergies and more.”
Rimbey’s pharmacy has changed hands a few times of the last hundred years, from the White Brothers to Mickey Jepson, a trailblazing female pharmacist and entrepreneur. The name changed to Wyllie’s Drug Store when Jepson sold to George Wyllie, then Don’s Value Drug Mart, and now Rimbey Value Drug Mart. Through all the owners and technological advances, the care and commitment to the community has stayed constant.
Leanne Coleman has worked at the pharmacy for many years, and feels privileged to be able to serve the community.
“I get to see the kids grow up, graduate, get married… Can you tell I’ve been here a long time?” she laughs. “We’re invested in their lives and the community, and we want to see the community thrive.”
Over the time Coleman’s worked at the store she’s seen a whole lot more automation, which has made things like ordering a lot easier.
“Computers aren’t perfect, but they’re certainly a big help,” she says, but it’s the connections with customers that have brought her the most joy over the years.