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Salem - The town's new pharmacy opened 11 days ago and already its owner said residents are warming to the idea of having their own destination for prescription drugs and other items.
"The public response has been really good," said Wendy Mikolinski, who opened Salem Health Mart Pharmacy on Black Friday. "You can tell people are looking to avoid traveling (to other towns)."
Mikolinski was referring to the regular trips that many people here make to Colchester, East Lyme and Norwich to fill prescriptions. She has lived in town for about nine years and said the hassle of her own trips elsewhere played a part in her opening the new pharmacy.
It is the first tenant in the new Harris Brook Commons, the 16,000-square-foot building at 24 Hartford Road near Salem Four Corners. The building has other commercial rental space and one-bedroom apartments.
In addition to prescriptions, the pharmacy sells a number of necessity items, such as tissue, laundry detergent, baby diapers and toiletries. It also has some food items and a few unique local goods. For instance, it sells products from Flora's Naturals, a local company that makes goat milk soap and soy candles.
The pharmacy also has Christmas wrapping paper, birthday cards and other items that may help people avoid going elsewhere.
"It's tough when you're working late and you're a parent," said Natasha Wessner, a pharmacist and manager, as she explained the thought that went into the pharmacy's items. "Every person that comes in, I try to ask them what they want to see their pharmacy carry. It's whatever Salem needs."
The pharmacy is open from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and has Saturday hours from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mikolinski said she has already started to think about expanding Saturday hours and possibly opening on Sundays. The pharmacy's soft opening was Black Friday and a grand opening is set for Jan. 5.
Two women who were shopping in the pharmacy Monday afternoon said it was their first trip inside. They perused the shelves and one later inquired about the process she should follow to get her prescriptions transferred to the new store.
Both said they traveled to Colchester in the past for prescriptions and were pleased to have a new, closer alternative.
"I always thought it would be great to have a pharmacy in town," said Lori Rudker, one of the shoppers. "A lot of people are excited about it."