First pharmacy in town would fill Salem's needs

Salem - The annoying travel to other towns that people here routinely endure to pick up their prescription drugs could soon be a thing of the past.

A local pharmacist has plans to open the town's first pharmacy later this year near Salem Four Corners.

Wendy Mikolinski, who has lived in town for about nine years, said the pharmacy is slated to open in November on the lower level of Harris Brook Commons, the new 16,000-square-foot building at 24 Hartford Road (Route 85).

She said she first had thoughts about starting her own pharmacy a couple of years ago. Mikolinski felt there was a need to help her neighbors avoid trips to Colchester, East Lyme and Norwich.

"I travel at least 15 minutes just like everybody else to pick up something as simple as a bottle of aspirin," she said. "Here I am a pharmacist, where better to do it than in my own town where I can benefit and others can benefit?"

Mikolinski said she has worked at Genoa Health Care, a pharmacy inside the Sound Community Services building on State Street in New London.

Salem Health Mart Pharmacy will be a franchise of Health Mart, which has stores across the country.

The pharmacy would lease about 2,300 square feet in the building, which has a lower level that accommodates commercial space and an upper floor with 10 one-bedroom apartments.

The space is equipped with a drive-through window that could eventually service customers. The pharmacy also has plans to offer deliveries to its nearby clients, a service that Mikolinski said would help many elderly people.

She added that her pharmacy would be unique because it will offer pre-packaged drugs for its clients in weekly boxes designed to help them keep their medications in order. The goal is to get to know patients on a personal level.

The service would be a welcome addition to the town, First Selectman Kevin Lyden said.

"People have been asking for a pharmacy in Salem for years," he said. "It's been a stretch to get a pharmacy. You have the bigger ones in CVS and Rite Aid. They want more population (in the town) and things like that."

Plans call for the Harris Brook Commons, built by Zito Builders Inc., to connect with the parking lot that houses Two Brothers Pizza, Chelsea Groton Bank and Babe's Country Deli, among other businesses.

People can also access the rear of the building from Center Street, and other plans are in the works for a second building to be built at the location that could house medical offices.

The town recently lost its only physician, and Mikolinski said she believes medical offices in the center of town would be an obvious choice to complement her pharmacy.

jeff.johnson@theday.com

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