South Bend, Indiana
March 28, 2006
Many Thanks to Ida Chipman for graciously allowing us to reproduce this article.

End of an era
Bourbon Pharmacy closes its doors for good on Wednesday

IDA CHIPMAN
Tribune Correspondent


The Bourbon Pharmacy has its roots back in the horse-and-buggy days, when downtown Bourbon was a dirt road.Photo provided

BOURBON -- The logo on the front of the 110-year-old Bourbon Pharmacy reads: 'Hometown Caring You Can Count On."

Only now you can't.

The Bourbon Pharmacy, 101 S. Main St., will close its doors forever Wednesday.

It's been a strain.

One of his friends in Bourbon said John Reichert, owner and pharmacist for one of the two remaining privately owned drugstores in Marshall County, stopped smiling three months ago.

Walgreens Drugs have bought all of the Bourbon store's prescription information -- and there were 6,200 of them in the computer -- effective Tuesday.

They also have hired John to work in the new Walgreens on North Michigan Street in Plymouth.

"It wasn't an easy decision," Reichert, 51, said.

"I wanted to keep open for the Bourbon Township people," he said.

Truth be told, the Bourbon Pharmacy is a casualty of the federal government's new senior prescription drug plan, Medicare Part D.

"The reimbursement rate is really low and very, very slow," Reichert said, " Some insurance companies don't pay for over three months.

"A small business can't survive under those conditions," he said.

Reichert's overhead costs are still there. "When you figure on paying my help, my vials, my heating bills, I am losing money, besides taking a loss on the drugs.

"It's unfortunate, but true."

After Wednesday, the one remaining independent pharmacy is People's Drugstore in Plymouth.

John Reichert is a Bourbon boy. He graduated from Triton High School in 1973 and from Butler University in 1978 with a degree in pharmacy.

He also earned a master's degree in public affairs from IUSB in 1988.

For 11 years, John was the assistant director of pharmacy at Memorial Hospital in South Bend. He then was a detail man for five years for Glaxo Pharmaceuticals before working another five years at Elkhart General Hospital as a staff pharmacist.

The year before he fulfilled his dream of owning his own place in Bourbon, he worked for Care First Optioncare.

He bought Bourbon Pharmacy from Robert Hill in October 1999.

According to town historian Karin Rettinger, the store was first opened about 1910. Frank Martin had been in the drug business from before 1896 to 1926.

Will Erwin, shopping for some of the close-out bargains, said he remembered the store years ago as having a great soda fountain.

Alberta Cox, 81, of Atwood, said she'd "be darned" if she knows what she'll do for her medical needs.

"I have been shopping here forever. I was born and lived all my life in Atwood -- just down the road -- and I am sure going to miss you guys!"

She figured she'd go to Warsaw until she learned that John would be at Walgreens in Plymouth.

"I still drive," she said, "so I guess I can make it over there."

John told her he'd be sure and let her know the times he'd be on duty.

In that respect -- the tradition of caring for his customers and neighbors -- lives on.


John Reichert will close the Bourbon Pharmacy on Wednesday and will work at the new Walgreen Drug Store in Plymouth. Tribune Photo/IDA CHIPMAN


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